According to an official statement by the ministry of interior of the Cyprus Republic, the agreement further strengthens and expands the cooperation between Cyprus and France, in the field of defense and security. “It is also an important step towards achieving the common goal of ensuring a stable and secure environment in the Eastern Mediterranean” the statement noted.
The Agreement enhances co-operation between the two countries in the fields of energy and maritime security, early warning and crisis management, and the fight against terrorism and piracy. In addition, at the military level, cooperation in the fields of armaments and defense technology, joint training of military personnel and conducting search and rescue exercises are envisaged.
Among other things, the agreement provides for co-operation in the fields of armaments and defense technology and staff training in France’s military schools. It was also agreed to hold joint exercises and organize mutual visits in the framework of activities of the Armed Forces of the two countries. In addition to the above, training and exchange of experience and knowledge in matters of military justice, international law, energy security, maritime security, crisis management in relation to threats such as hostilities, terrorism, piracy and natural or industrial disasters.
Cyprus Minister of Defense Mr. Charalambos Petridis
Naval News understands the agreement likely includes provision for French Navy (Marine Nationale) vessels to be stationed in Cyprus (and use Limassol port facilities) for longer durations. France could assist Cyprus in securing natural resources and maintain a stronger overall presence in the South-Eastern Mediterranean Sea. We reported last year that Cyprus had plans to expand a naval base on the south shores to be able to host French navy vessels. The move also comes amid heightened tension between France and Turkey following an incident involving vessels from both countries navies off Libya.
It has to be noted that today, Egypt and Greece signed an agreement on exclusive economic zone (EEZ) delimitation. Daily Greek newspaper Ekathimerini reports that Egypt and Greece are at odds with Turkey, which last year angered the two countries by signing a maritime delimitation agreement with the internationally recognized Libyan government, in a move that escalated disputes over potential offshore gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean. Tensions were already high between Greece and Turkey because of Turkish gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean off the coast of Cyprus. The NATO members are also at odds over mineral rights in the Aegean Sea.