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20 May, 2024
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Cyprus: The new epicenter of U.S. military strategy in the Mediterranean

As the island nation gains importance, a closer look at the growing defense partnership with the U.S.


In a significant development, the United States and Cyprus are strengthening their defense and security ties, marking a shift in the geopolitical landscape of the Eastern Mediterranean.  According to a report by Yiannis Ioannou in Kathinerini's Sunday edition, the lifting of the decades-long U.S. arms embargo on Cyprus in October 2022 has paved the way for a burgeoning strategic partnership between the two nations.

A recent article in the U.S. Armed Forces newspaper, "Stars & Stripes," underscored Cyprus's newfound role as a hub for the U.S. and its allies in the region. The report coincided with the deployment of a substantial U.S. military force in the area, emphasizing the growing importance Washington places on its relations with Cyprus amidst regional challenges.

The Bilateral Defence Cooperation Programme, signed between the National Guard of Cyprus and the U.S. Armed Forces on January 19, signals a deepening institutional collaboration. This program outlines annual tangible commitments between the armed forces of both countries, encompassing special operations, Combat First Aid (CFA) training, naval cooperation, and Search and Rescue (SAR) exercises.

A key milestone in this collaboration is the upgrade of the CYCLOPS center, which now houses an international Targeting Center in Larnaca. This center, developed in partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime (UNODC) and the World Customs Organization (WCO), positions Cyprus as a regional hub for training and excellence in cargo and infrastructure security.

The discussion on defense collaboration has extended to the arms dimension, with Cyprus expressing a desire to enhance its defense capabilities. Talks between Washington and Nicosia have matured into a strategic partnership, potentially involving cooperation with American companies in armaments. Additionally, negotiations for the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are underway.

While some legislators and critics question the impact of these defense regulations, proponents argue that they are essential for combating rising security challenges. The shift in U.S.-Cyprus relations reflects not only a bilateral commitment but also integrates Cyprus into a broader Euro-Atlantic framework, reshaping the geopolitical dynamics of the region.

As Cyprus responds to evolving geopolitical realities, its strategic cooperation with the United States emerges as a crucial pillar, reinforcing stability and security in the Eastern Mediterranean.

[Read the full story by Yiannis Ioannou in Kathimerini's Sunday edition]

Cyprus  |  USA  |  defense  |  partnership

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