Israeli Defence Minister visits Cyprus for “Agapinor 2022” military exercise

Israel’s Minister of Defence Benny Gantz visited Cyprus to observe part of the “Agapinor” military exercise, involving units of the armed of Cyprus and Israel. The drill, which began on Sunday, is expected to conclude on June 2.

According to a press release issued by the Ministry of Defence, Gantz was welcomed at Pafos Airport by the National Guard Chief, Lieutenant-General Democritos Zervakis, and the Ministry of Defence Permanent Secretary, Andreas Louca.

Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Defence, after observing the final phase of the exercise with the Israeli Minister of Defence, Louca saidthat such exercises strengthen the relations and upgrade joint activities of the two countries, while promoting training of units of the armed forces of both countries.

He also noted that preparations for the joint exercise have been taking place both in Cyprus and Israel in the last six months, in close coordination between the General Staff of the National Guard and the Israeli Armed Forces, “under secrecy and measures of high security.”

Through a network of bilateral and trilateral and other multilateral cooperation mechanisms, based on respect of international law, Cyprus has evolved in the last years in a pillar of stability in the Eastern Mediterranean, he added.

In this context, Louca said, “Agapinor 2022” was held in Cyprus by the National Guard and the Israeli Armed Forces with the participation of the Hellenic Navy and the contribution of other state services and organisations.

According to a press release issued by the Cyprus National Guard, the large-scale exercise, involving naval, air and land assets of the two countries falls within the context of defence cooperation between Cyprus and Israel.

The exercise aims to boost joint training between the General Staff and military units of the two countries, boost their interoperability and readiness and upgrade the long-standing military cooperation.

“The exercise based on a hypothetical scenario constitutes a further evolution of this cooperation, thus contributing to peace and regional stability,” the Cyprus National Guard added.

According to the press release, on Monday, the exercise involved an offensive action to liquidate a bridgehead created by commandos of the Israel Armed Forces and the Cyprus Special Forces Command. The offensive actions were carried out by the XX Armoured Brigade deployed in Tactical Battalion Groups with crews between the two countries, supported by Israeli Apache helicopters and Cypriot Mi-35.

The exercise was also observed by the National Guard Chief, the Deputy Commander, Lt. General Constantinos Chrysiliou, the Israeli Armed Forces Deputy Commander Lt. General Tamir Yadaie as well as other high ranking military officials of two countries.

Furthermore, on Monday night, Zervakis welcomed his Israeli counterpart, Lt. General Avi Kohavi who visited Cyprus to observe parts of the exercise. On Tuesday the two Chiefs held a private meeting during which they discussed the evolution of the exercise and expressed satisfaction with the results of the joint maneuvers. Today, both Chiefs along with the Israeli Minister of Defence visited units that took part in the exercise.

Source: Cyprus News Agency