Cyprus’ role in the region is very much appreciated internationally, says Chairman of the European Union Military Committee

Cyprus is a valuable supporter of regional security and its role is very much appreciated in the international environment, Chairman of the European Union Military Committee Claudio Graziano has stressed. Graziano is paying a visit to Cyprus and on Friday he had a metting with the Chief of the National Guard, General IliasLeontaris.

Speaking after the meeting, Graziano pointed out that Cyprus is a very active member of the European Union and a solid partner and pillar of stability at the South Eastern corner of Europe.

At the beginning, he said that he started in his role just 2 months ago and added that it is very important to begin the first year of his mandate by paying visits to the European Capitals since it provides a valuable opportunity to better understand the respective viewpoints and concerns.

As regards his meeting with General Leontaris he said that they had a very frank and constructive discussion and they covered a number of important issues. Cyprus has consistently provided high quality contributions to EU operations, I have personally met Cypriots officers in the field and I can testify to their professionalism, he noted.

Graziano also said that he is also conscious of the challenges Cyprus is facing with regards to migration, in particular as a consequence of the conflict in Syria and the proximity to the Middle East. Migration is clearly one of the most important topics on the European agenda, but we are all aware of the difficulties in finding common views, he added.

The European official said that the Union is currently in a very formative phase with regard to the Common security and defence policy, noting that the implementation of the EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy will shape our cooperation for some time to come.

On his part, Leontaris said that the Republic of Cyprus constitutes the South-eastern frontier of the EU, we build reliable partnerships in the region that are enhancing security and stability. He added that being at the front line of the most mutable neighbourhood of Europe, we are ready to cooperate with other member states and other interested states in tackling asymmetric threats and addressing humanitarian crises.

He also said that at the National Guard are actively engaged in the Common Security and Defence Policy and it supports with personnel EU missions and operations. We share and support the strategic priorities deriving from the EU Global Strategy and we are convinced that solidarity, mutual assistance and common understanding remain the key factors to strengthen European security and defence in order to tackle the unprecedented security challenges that threaten our common identity and values, he said.

Source: Cyprus News Agency