Cyprus and Serbia sign agreement for the Exchange of Classified Information

An agreement for the Exchange of Classified Information was signed on Monday between Cyprus and Serbia.

The agreement was signed by Cyprus Defence Minister Christoforos Fokaides and Serbia’s Defence Minister Aleksandar Vulin who is paying the island an official visit at the invitation of Fokaides.

The two Ministers held talks at the General Staff headquarters followed by the signing of the agreements.

In his remarks, Fokaides said Cyprus and Serbia have mutual bonds of respect and solidarity, noting that there is an active Serbian community on the island.

Fokaides referred to the help offered by the former Yugoslavia to Cyprus as part of the Non-Aligned Movement and then during the Turkish invasion and now by Serbia.

Indicative of the support is the presence of 45 Serbian soldiers in the United Nations Peacekeeping Forces in Cyprus.

Fokaides said Cyprus supports a position of principles regarding the issue of Kosovo and also Serbia’s accession course to the European Union.

The road to the EU is the strongest catalyst to stabilize reconciliation and stability in the Western Balkans, he said, an area which is extremely critical for security throughout Europe. For this reason, Cyprus is working within the EU so that it can be appreciated that accelerating the accession negotiations with Serbia will benefit not only each country and the wider region but also the EU itself.”

He reminded that Serbia will participate from 2020 actively with forces in HELBROC, the European Unions HELBROC (Balkan) battlegroup, which consists of Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece. It is a powerful indication and ratification of the indivisible role of Serbia in Europe’s safety architecture and especially South-east Europe, in which Cyprus is also a part, he added.

Referring to the agreement signed on Monday, he said it is an important step in cooperation between the two countries. Together with a bilateral Military Cooperation Agreement that has been drawn up, we are setting the foundation to deepen relations in the defence field, noting these relations have always been excellent.

Regarding the Cyprus problem, Fokaides said he informed Vulin on the latest developments, stressing the need for a change in Turkey’s anachronistic demands for maintaining intervention or guarantee rights on the island and the presence of Turkish troops.

We hope this visit will open a new chapter in the two countries’ relations, he added.

Speaking through an interpreter, Vulin said thanked Cyprus for supporting the Kosovo cause, noting we are aware that Cyprus supports us during hard times.

He said Serbia supports the talks process for Cyprus as it is the only way, and we also know that sometimes in some issues you have to succumb as it the only way to maintain peace and fight for your peoples’ just causes.

I assure you that the government of Serbia strongly supports the dialogue process and wishes it will have a positive end.

He referred to Serbia’s participation in UNFICYP as well as HELBROC so that together we will face the threats. Unfortunately, he said, the region we live in faces similar challenges. Religious fanaticism, immigrants are common issues and we must give a mutual answer.

The agreement signed, he said, will allow the two countries to exchange information and maintain security. The two ministries, Vulin added, are already discussing next year’s actions, noting that our peoples are friendly and so should our troops stand next to each other.

The Serbian minister, will visit the Serbian contingent in UNFICYP stationed in Pyla, Larnaca district, before departing on Monday evening.

Source: Cyprus News Agency