Lieutenant-General Leontaris raises the issue of Turkeys actions in Cyprus’ EEZ before the EU Military Committee

Lieutenant-General Elias Leontaris raised on Thursday the issue of Turkeys actions in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone, and the question of the conditions for future EU-NATO cooperation, to which Turkey is already a member, during the two-day Regular Meeting of the European Military Committee (EU) at the level of Chiefs of Armed Forces.

“Any cooperation between the EU and NATO should be based on the principles of reciprocity and the participation of all Member States, with respect for the decision-making autonomy,” said Head of the Cyprus National Guard, Lieutenant-General Elias Leontaris, in his intervention before the Military Committee. The meeting was the last under the chairmanship of General Michael Kostarakos, as the presidency was passed to General Claudio Graziano, as planned.

As EU-NATO co-operation was one of the key topics of discussion, Chief Leontaris said that “Turkey, as a member of NATO and despite its wish to join the EU, by taking advantage of its participation in the North Atlantic Alliance operations, violates the national airspace of the Republic of Cyprus and breaches the air traffic rules “.

He also noted that “Turkey prevents the Republic of Cyprus from exercising its sovereign rights in its territory and in the EEZ” and stressed that “when the Republic of Cyprus is restricted, then this is equivalent to a restriction of the EU” and called on its counterparts to help establish the cooperation of the two organizations on the basis of the above principles.

Moreover, General Leontaris said that “the Republic of Cyprus supports EU-NATO cooperation”, but stressed the need “to revise the BERLIN + agreement as it is outdated and has practical, legal and political implications in the Republic of Cyprus.”

Furthermore, the Committee discussed EUs military operations and missions aimed at promoting peace, disrupting trafficking and trafficking in human beings as well as creating a safe naval environment, held talks on the PESCO (Permanent Structured Defense Cooperation) and the Coordination Annual Defense Report (CARD), exchanged views on the cooperation between the EU and the United Nations, talked about Military Mobility as well as issues of interoperability and cooperation.

On the sidelines of the meeting, General Leontaris met with Chiefs of Armed Forces of other Member States and bilateral meetings with the Heads of Armed Forces of Austria and the United Kingdom.

Source: Cyprus News Agency