Cyprus and the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday signed their first military cooperation agreement as the eastern Mediterranean island nation seeks to bolster relations with nearby countries in the Middle East.
Cyprus already had military agreements with Egypt, Israel and Jordan, and its armed forces hold training exercises with the forces of those countries. The nation also has signed a deal to help train Lebanon's army.
Cyprus' Defense Ministry said in a statement that the agreement with the UAE foresees the holding of joint military maneuvers, training programs and consultations on expanding operational cooperation.
Cyprus Defense Minister Charalambos Petrides signed the agreement during a teleconference and agreed to meet with his UAE counterpart once conditions relating to the coronavirus pandemic permit, the ministry said in a statement.
Petrides hailed the agreement as the start of a long, powerful and strategic relationship between the two countries' defense ministries and armed forces.
The UAE participated in a large-scale sea and air military exercise off Egypt in November. French, Greek, Egyptian and Cypriot personnel also were involved in the exercises, code-named Medusa.
Petrides said the drill demonstrated the prospects for expanding military cooperation between the UAE and Cyprus.