The participation of the F-16s is particularly important not only on a symbolic but also on a practical level, he stressed.
By Michalis Michael
As part of Cyprus’s cooperation with various countries, in particular with friendly countries in the region, but also with friendly powerful countries such as France, a program of joint military exercises has been set up aimed at maintaining the preparedness and operational capability of our armed forces, Defense Minister Savvas Angelides told CNA, stressing that “these exercises are not a response to the Turkish provocations”.
Responding to questions on the occasion of the Regular Post-Troop Training (TAMS) under the name “Steel Arrow”, the final stage of which involved Greek F-16s as well, Mr. Angelides pointed out that “the participation of the F-16s is particularly important not only on a symbolic, but also on a practical level”. Mr. Angelides, who was present during the final stage of the exercise, underlined that “these exercises are not a response to the Turkish provocations. These are exercises in the context of our commitment to keep our National Guard at the best, highest level, which is dissuasive; but our focus is always on the diplomatic, legal and political measures to end Turkey’s illegal activity”, he added.
On the other hand, the Minister of Defense stated that the necessary morale and mindset in the National Guard staff must be there, as well as the occasional evaluation of our dissuasive capacity.
“It was a great exercise in the final stage of which military forces from Greece took part in the context of our military cooperation”, Mr. Angelides commented, adding that “we maintain military cooperation of this kind with many countries and at times we are present in common exercises, much more with Greece”.
Mr. Angelides pointed out that the exercise was successful and that the goal is to have continuous training that practically raises the morale, the preparedness and the operational readiness of the National Guard, while it also has an impact on people’s mindset.
“Different exercises have taken place in the past as well, in cooperation with other countries on land and at sea by various means. This will go on, because when we talk about defense diplomacy it is a fact that in the framework of cooperation with different countries, especially with the friendly countries of the neighborhood, but also with the friendly powerful countries such as France, we have set up a program of joint exercises that is specifically aimed at maintaining the readiness and operational capability of the armed forces”, the Minister of Defense stressed.
Mr. Angelides also said that his initial reaction when the Greek F-16s did not arrive at the military parade on October 1 was that their presence at the parade is symbolic, without undermining their significance.
“Then I said let’s wait and see. Now we see the substance of it all. You understand what the F-16’s involvement in an exercise brings in operational terms”, he added.
In addition, Mr. Angelides posted on social media that “the professionalism and ethics of today’s staff make me really proud! Congratulations to everybody. The arrival of the Greek F-16s demonstrates the excellent and uninterrupted cooperation with Greece”. /ibna