Cyprus says new military accord with France will ‘bolster security’ in seas disputed with Turkey
CYPRUS said yesterday that a new military pact with France will see joint training programmes and “bolster security at sea” as well as involve the purchase of hundreds of millions of euros’ worth of French weaponry.
The agreement, which comes into force this month, helps ensure “an environment of stability and security in the eastern Mediterranean,” the government said.
The move escalates the confrontation between France and Turkey, supposedly Nato allies but backing opposite sides in Libya’s civil war.
Cyprus has licensed French oil firm Total along with Italy’s ENI to conduct exploratory drilling in seas south of the island, half of which remains illegally occupied by a Turkish puppet state set up after 1974’s invasion. Turkey has sent warships to protect drilling vessels in the same waters.
Toumazos Tsielepis of Cyprus’s communist Akel party has warned that if Cypriots think acquiring “deterrent powers” will help against Turkey “we are deluding ourselves.
“We will only succeed in further increasing tension, with the definitive partition of Cyprus the result,” he warned, calling for resumption of talks on the division of the island.