Cyprus and France sign defense cooperation agreement
Nicosia, Feb 28 - Cyprus and France have signed an agreement for Defense Cooperation between the two countries in a bid to strengthen bilateral relations - a decision taken during Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos’ visit to France in November 2006.
The agreement was signed at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nicosia by Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs Yiorgos Lillikas and French Minister of Defense Michele Alliot-Marie.
In statements after the signing ceremony, Mr. Lillikas expressed his satisfaction and noted that it is a natural development of everything that was agreed during President Papadopoulos’ meeting with President Jacques Chirac.
“France and Cyprus have always had excellent political relations, they have and share a common vision on international issues and now as EU partners have shown that with their approach they can contribute to peace in the Middle East,” Mr. Lillikas added.
“The crisis in Lebanon gave both countries the chance to cooperate in the military field with benefits not only for both countries but mainly for Middle East countries. I wish and hope that just as Cyprus proved to be a factor of stability in the Middle East region, the solution to the Cyprus problem and Cyprus’ reunification will prove that Cyprus can, reunited, with the cooperation of all partners such as France, help in peace and stability in the region,” he also said.
Ms. Alliot-Marie said that it was an agreement which allows relations to strengthen between the two Ministries, and added: ''It provides for greater exchange in training issues, on the level of joint maneuvers, when analyzing the geostrategic situation. It is a continuation of the existing relations. We are faced with common dangers, such as terrorism, which concerns all European countries and which we might handle.”
Moreover, a statement on the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs website noted that there has been no progress on the Turkish part concerning the opening of Turkish ports to Cypriot ships.