Friday, September 7, 2018

France looks to develop defenceco-operation with Cyprus - REGINA LEADER-POST / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Cyprus Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides, right,
and his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian
September 7, 2018

NICOSIA, Cyprus — France’s foreign minister says his country is looking to bolster defenceco-operation with Cyprus that could help augment Europe’s presence in the east Mediterranean.

Jean-Yves Le Drian said Friday after talks with his Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides that France wants a more united, democratic and sovereign Europe “whose voice is heard with greater power in the world.”

Christodoulides said Cyprus is ready to work with France to fulfil the ambition of French President Emmanuel Macron that Europe takes more responsibility for its own defence.

French warships often use the east Mediterranean island-nation — some 100 miles (160 kilometres) from Syria’s coastline — as a resupply and refuelling stop.

The two ministers also discussed expanding energy co-operation.

French company Total is already licensed to search for hydrocarbons off Cyprus’ southern coast.