Cyprus is “a major asset”, says Lebanese Defence Ministers

The presence of Cyprus in Europe is a major asset to Lebanon, said the country’s Defence Minister Yaacoub Riad Sarraf, while underlining the tremendous prospects that open up with the forthcoming historic visit of Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades to Beirut.

Cyprus has stood by Lebanon and will continue to do so said his Cypriot counterpart, Christoforos Fokaides. Speaking on Thursday, he also referred to the signing of an agreement for bilateral military cooperation, saying that it reflects the will of both countries to face common challenges.

Sarraf, who is on an official visit to Cyprus, was received this morning by Fokaides at the headquarters of the Cyprus National Guard, in Nicosia. The two men had a tA�te-A�-tA�te, followed by official consultations, in the presence of both sides’ delegations.

The Lebanese Minister said that his visit to Cyprus was to honor a debt that Lebanon has towards Cyprus for all its assistance in the past, as well as more recently with the refugee crisis.

Cyprus has offered to Lebanon and Jordan its share of 2.3 mln euros, as part of the EU refugee grant to Turkey, to cater for Syrian refugees.

Cyprus plays a major role in the coordination between the European community and Lebanon, Sarraf added.

The Minister also referred to the forthcoming visit of President Anastasiades to Lebanon, noting that he lays great hopes on its outcome. The prospects for prosperity and peace, as well as in education and culture are tremendous, he noted.

Speaking finally in Greek, Sarraf thanked Fokaides for the hospitality and said that Cyprus and Lebanon are brotherly nations joined by the same sea.

In his statements, Fokaides said today’s was an important visit, only a few days ahead of the official visit of President Anastasiades to Lebanon.

He referred to the various problems in the region, such as extremism or the refugee crisis and noted that Cyprus remains in solidarity with Lebanon.

According to Fokaides, maximum cooperation is required, with the involvement of all governments that remain committed in the fight against terrorism.

Cyprus, both bilaterally, as well as on a trilateral level, together with Greece and countries from the region, aims at turning the Eastern Mediterranean into an area of peace and prosperity, he said.

Finally, the Minister conveyed Nicosia’s steady will to continue supporting the Lebanese Armed Forces, within its means, and to extend cooperation in maritime safety, search and rescue operations.

Source: Cyprus News Agency