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YPAM: Efforts for a permanent presence of EU forces in our region

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YPAM: Efforts for a permanent presence of EU forces in our region

The Ministry of Defense is going through a fruitful period, implementing the plans for further strengthening of the armed forces and shielding of the Republic of Cyprus. This is sent as a message by the political head of the Ministry, Charalambos Petridis, making a first report of his six-month presence at the helm of the Ministry of Defense.

In his interview with “F” he refers to the plans for the armament program of the National Guard and reveals the planning for the next period. At the same time, it makes an assessment of the combat readiness of the armed forces in relation to the challenges it faces in terms of Turkish aggression on land and at sea. Evaluates the agreement with the USA and analyzes the implementation of the defense agreement with France. It also reveals the drafting of a defense memorandum with the United Arab Emirates as well as cooperation on armaments programs with Israel. It highlights the ongoing diplomatic efforts at all levels with a focus on the EU. As it typically states, the conditions have now matured to designate the Eastern Mediterranean a region of naval interest, in an effort to build a strong European bulwark against Turkish provocation. In this context, he notes, the efforts are intensified in the new year as well, so that there is a permanent presence of forces from EU member states in the region.

– Six months after taking up your duties at the Ministry of Defense, what is your record, at a particularly difficult time and with many challenges in many areas?

Indeed, we are going through a difficult time, with the epidemic having upset the social and economic constants of our lives and Turkey escalating its aggression. Nevertheless, it was a fruitful period for the Ministry of Defense, which operates with a longer-term horizon. The Republic of Cyprus was further shielded. We have continued the beneficial strategy of defense and military alliances and strengthened the combat readiness of our armed forces, both in terms of training and equipment, with one of the largest programs of recent years.

We are facing the peak of Turkish provocation in the EEZ, in Famagusta and on the Greek continental shelf. We are managing this crisis in cooperation with our allies and in coordination with Greece. We remain calm and faithful to our will for de-escalation.

This year we saw for the first time the conduct of joint exercises in the framework of the quadripartite initiative with the participation of forces from Cyprus, Greece, France and Italy. The Medusa exercise, in which, in addition to Cyprus, Greece and Egypt, which participated in previous years, we also had the participation of France and the United Arab Emirates, was also clearly intensified.

On September 1, the United States announced its decision to temporarily lift the embargo on the sale of US non-lethal weapons to the Republic of Cyprus and at the same time to begin providing military training and education to Armed Forces personnel.

I would like to point out the conduct of the 1st joint joint training between the special forces of the Republic of Cyprus and the USA, in addition to the exercises of humanitarian operations or Search-Rescue operations.

Also, for the first time, the submission of the necessary supporting documents of the graduate students and all those who were invited for classification was implemented and implemented electronically. It was necessary in order to smoothly implement the classification of new recruits of the 2020 ESSO in pandemic conditions. At the same time, however, it was one of the most important reforms that will continue in the coming years.

– What are your goals and priorities for the new year? Have you defined any action plan as the Ministry of Defense?

– The Ministry of Defense always has an action plan which is enriched and adapted according to developments. Our goals, which stem from the plan we have drawn up, include the shielding of the Republic of Cyprus through defense cooperation agreements with friendly countries, the strengthening of the National Guard by modern means and the strengthening and development of structures and processes related to personnel and citizens.

At the diplomatic level, for the first time in its history, the Republic of Cyprus has so many and broad defense agreements with neighboring and friendly countries inside and outside the EU. We are investing in strengthening existing agreements but also in concluding new ones. Characteristically, a new Memorandum of Defense Cooperation is already being prepared with the power of the Gulf and specifically the United Arab Emirates.

Following interventions by myself and my predecessor in international forums, we find that the conditions within the European Union have matured to designate the Eastern Mediterranean as a region of naval interest, in an effort to build a strong European bulwark against Turkish provocation. In this context, we will intensify our efforts in the new year so that there is a permanent presence of forces from EU member states in the region. The beginning has already been made with the implementation of the quadripartite force with the participation of KD, Greece, France and Italy.

In terms of defense, we are continuing our multiannual plan aimed at upgrading and modernizing the National Guard in order to make it stronger and more flexible. At the same time, and despite the difficulties, we are significantly enriching our armament program.

Finally, a great effort is underway to create a computerized system that concerns the ordered and expropriated pieces, while at the same time improvements are being examined in the process of delivering the individual invitation sheets (FAP) to reserves. The connection of the reserve file with the Police file is at an advanced stage in order to improve the process of invitations and presentations of reserves for trainings and exercises in the ranks of the National Guard.

– Has the American arms market now entered the plans of the Republic of Cyprus? Were any actions taken? How is the cooperation with the USA progressing in terms of exercises or education? Are there any scheduled exercises?

– As you know, in recent years the bilateral relations between the Republic of Cyprus and the USA have significantly improved in the fields of security and defense. The enactment of the East Med Act in December 2019 highlighted the strategic importance of Cyprus but also the importance for American foreign policy of the cooperation we have developed with Greece and Israel.

This law supports the strengthening of the axis of cooperation between Israel, Cyprus and Greece in the region, mainly on issues of security, energy and countering terrorism.

Following the announcement by Washington of the temporary lifting of the embargo on the sale of American non-lethal weapons, a Joint Committee of Experts was set up to investigate the possibility of supplying non-lethal military equipment from the United States.

As part of US military training for Armed Forces personnel, the National Guard has been awarded the position of Officer at the US National Defense University College of International Security Affairs, for the academic year 2021-2022.

The Department of Defense is in contact with the US Embassy in Nicosia and the US Department of Defense to provide additional short-term training in the areas of maritime security, cyber defense, and leadership development.

In the field of military training, it is worth noting that last September two high-speed vessels of the US Navy Special Forces landed in Marie. During their presence in Cyprus, joint exercises and joint trainings were carried out with boats of the special forces of our Navy, which concerned cooperation in matters of logistics and navigation.

In the near future, a joint exercise is planned between the special forces of Cyprus, USA and Greece, which will be conducted in Greece. It is worth noting that the USA participates every year through the Multinational Exercises “ARGONAFTIS” and “NEMESIS”, which are held in Cyprus.


Source: www.philenews.com

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