EU Defense Chief Talks Military Matters with Cyprus

Jorge Domecq (file photo)

A European Union defense chief has said Cyprus should maintain closer ties with the rest of the union when it comes to military and security planning and spending.

European Defence Agency (EDA) Chief Executive Jorge Domecq was speaking on Tuesday during an official meeting to the island nation.

He met Cypriot defense minister Savvas Angelides, but said although EU spending on defense was second only to that of the U.S., such spending was “fragmented”.

Angelides said Cyprus strongly believed “that the European Defence Agency is a trusted European facilitator in the domain of the development of military capabilities and a powerful locus for cooperation between the Member States in this crucial sector”.

Cyprus has found itself in the middle of a series of disputes involving the exploration of natural resources off its coast in recent months, with Turkish warships becoming embroiled in standoffs with energy firms.

Meanwhile, the Kathimerini newspaper reports the island’s Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides saying his country is not seeking NATO membership or to join the Partnership for Peace alliance.

The U.S. Congress is discussing ending an arms export embargo to Cyprus, first laid down in 1992. The possibility of U.S. weapons finding their way to the island has fuelled speculation of Nicosia trying to forge new military alliances.