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21 May, 2024
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New Jersey and Cyprus armies tie the knot

Cyprus and US relations 'never stronger' Defence Minister says at signing of SPP program with New Jersey National Guard

Source: CNA

Cyprus and US relations have never been stronger, Minister of Defence of the Republic of Cyprus Michalis Giorgallas has stressed during the signing ceremony of a State Partnership Program (SPP) between the Republic of Cyprus and the New Jersey National Guard.

The ceremony took place at the Presidential Palace on Thursday and the SPP was signed by Chief of the Cypriot National Guard, Lt. Gen. Demokritos Zervakis and and the Adjutant General of New Jersey National Guard, Brigadier Lisa J. Hou.

Addressing the ceremony, Giorgallas said that over the last two years we have embarked on fulfilling our ambition to build close, robust, and mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation between Cyprus and the USA.

“Some of the recent highlights and milestone achievements are the accessing of the international educational program of Cypriot officers, the signing of the Acquisition and Cross – Servicing Agreement and of course the lifting of the US arms embargo of lethal and non lethal materials”, he said.

The Minister pointed out that in recent years, Cyprus promotes closer regional defence cooperation with US, the EU member states and its neighbours. We are, as he said, a reliable partner and a facilitator for regional cooperation for promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean region.

He stressed that Cyprus and US relations have never been stronger. “We are always seeking new avenues for cooperation in order to further strengthen this strategic partnership. We are extremely excited about our accession to the state partnership program”, he said and added that we are very proud that Cyprus is just the second SPP Partner of the New Jersey National Guard.

“We feel privileged that Cyprus is among the new additions to this highly estimated value partnership”, he noted and addressing US partners he said that they should consider Cyprus "as your home away from your home. We are ready to start working closer with you.”

US Ambassador to Cyprus Julie D. Fisher, while addressing the ceremony, said that this program is one of the most effective security cooperation programs of the US that work in Europe today. Cyprus and Norway, as she noted, are among the newest relationships included in this program and "it seems appropriate that New Jersey with its state model liberty and prosperity will make today this important partnership with the Republic of Cyprus official."

“I am sure that this collaboration will promote our shared values and build resilience for the work on military, security and disaster response means we undertake together. The state partnership program will allow us to share knowledge on a range of issues, including maritime security, counterterrorism and natural disaster response”, she said, adding that these are issues of regional significance and the coordination and the results from this partnership will have a far-reaching positive impact beyond the island of Cyprus.

Brigadier Lisa J. Hou, the Adjutant General of New Jersey National Guard said that the application for state partnership with Cyprus has been accepted by the US Department of State and supported by the National Guard bureau.

As she said, the state partnership program enriches allies and institutions of those being involved, noting that in 1993, the US begun the state partnership program with 13 partnerships, and this year Cyprus is among the new group of nations that raises the program to 100 countries involved.

She also said that the Republic of Cyprus is already a partner of the US that works to promote regional stability, security and prosperity.

Lt. Gen. Demokritos Zervakis said that this is a significant moment for the history of the National Guard of the Republic of Cyprus. “It is an honour and privilege to be part of this program. Our defence cooperation with the US now includes military education of our officers, important multinational military exercises, training between our special forces and exchange of personnel”, he said.

Finally, he pointed out that the signing of the partnership program with the New Jersey National Guard, assures a new era in our defence and military cooperation with the US.

According to the US National Guard website, the State Partnership Program has been successfully building relations for 30 years and now includes 88 partnerships with 100 nations around the globe.

The SPP evolved from a 1991 U.S. European Command decision to set up the Joint Contact Team Program in the Baltic Region with Reserve component Soldiers and Airmen. A subsequent National Guard Bureau proposal paired U.S. states with three nations emerging from the former Soviet Bloc and the SPP was born, becoming a key U.S. security cooperation tool, facilitating cooperation across all aspects of international civil-military affairs and encouraging people-to-people ties at the state level.

This cost-effective program is administered by the National Guard Bureau, guided by State Department foreign policy goals, and executed by the state adjutants general in support of combatant commander and U.S. Chief of Mission security cooperation objectives and Department of Defense policy goals, it is noted.

Cyprus  |  United States  |  army  |  military  |  Giorgallas  |  Menendez  |  New Jersey  |  SPP  |  NATO  |  defense  |  Albania

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