Defence Minister briefs his Irish counterpart on Turkey’s illegal actions and offensive behaviour

Defence Minister, Savvas Angelides, briefed on Friday his Irish counterpart Paul Kehoe on Turkey’s ongoing illegal actions and offensive behavior.

The two Ministers had in the morning a private meeting at the Zenon Crisis Centre, in Larnaca, which was followed by expanded talks between delegations of the two sides. The Irish Minister was also informed about the mission and the work of the Centre.

In statements to the media, Angelides said that he discussed with Kehoe about the progress achieved and the prospects ahead for further strengthening the two countries’ bilateral relations in the context of the Common Security and Defense Policy including their cooperation on PESCO projects.

Moreover, he noted, they discussed the latest developments within the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus and he had the opportunity to inform his colleague about the continued illegal actions and aggressive behavior of Turkey.

Angelides expressed Cyprus’ gratitude for the solidarity we are enjoying and to underline the immense importance of the support of our partners in the exercise of our sovereign rights. It is by enhancing our cooperation, among EU member states, and by standing in full solidarity to each other that we can tackle common threats in a decisive and effective manner, he noted.

Furthermore, he expressed the deep appreciation of the Cyprus government for Ireland’s invaluable contribution to UNFICYP. Since 1964 more than 10.000 members of the Defense Forces and the Police have participated in UNFICYP, a mission which is vital to the preservation of peace and security in Cyprus, he noted.

The Minister stressed that pending a solution to the Cyprus problem, for which we are working tirelessly and devotedly, UNFICYP role is indispensable. Your country Minister, traditionally dedicated to the UN values of respect for international law and human rights has participated continuously in UN peacekeeping operations around the world since 1958. This is indeed a very impressive record, he noted.

On his part, Kehoe said that it is very helpful to share knowledge and expertise with colleagues from another maritime EU member state.

He went on to say that he had a fruitful and useful discussion with Minister Angelides, adding that as EU member states with warm and friendly relations, the EU’s Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) mechanism is the primary vehicle for our defence cooperation.

He noted that Cyprus and Ireland have very close relations. We want to strengthen that relationship going forward. I believe that we have great relations going forward and we are going to continue and strengthen our very close ties that we already have, he said.

Moreover, he noted that Ireland strongly supports the role of the EU in external peacekeeping and crisis management operations and Ireland believes PESCO has the potential to deliver essential capabilities for operations in the area of peacekeeping and international crisis management.

The Irish Minister said he was pleased that his country was in cooperation alongside Cyprus in the framework of the PESCO project, adding that he looked forward to further building on this cooperation in the future.

He noted that this afternoon he would be meeting with the members of the Irish police force, An Garda Siochana, who are serving here in Cyprus with the UN, noting that Ireland’s support for the UNFICYP mission here in Cyprus dates back to its inception in 1964.

Additionally, he said that Ireland contributes to the Committee of Missing Persons which carries out vital work in Cyprus.

The Irish Minister said he would also attend on Friday evening a switching on lights event, at the Nicosia Town Hall as part of Irelands Global Greening initiative, which will see monuments all over the world go green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Source: Cyprus News Agency