Greece & Cyprus discuss arms sales in EU framework
Ministers from Greece and Cyprus discussed possibilities for cooperation in the defence industry within the framework of the EU’s Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), on Monday.
Cyprus Defence Minister Christoforos Fokaides met in Nicosia with Greek Alternate Defence Minister Dimitris Vitsas, who arrived in Cyprus to attend a ceremony for the handover of remains belonging to Greek nationals who died in August 1964, while on board the patrol boat Phaethon at Tyllirias, when it was bombed by Turkey.
Fokaides said Nicosia aimed to increase defence spending to 2% of GDP in line with the broader European target under PESCO, which is also along the lines of what NATO members are required to spend.
The two sides finalized a contract for the procurement of 11 general-purpose trucks, which had been pending. Various obstacles to the procurement of military equipment to Cyprus were being lifted through PESCO, which he said was a significant development.
Vitsas said cooperation between Athens and Nicosia was constantly being pushed forward and it had on Monday taken another step towards this.
Referring to Pesco, Vitsas said that Greece and Cyprus insisted on including regional defence industries in the overall EU framework, along with the major European arms suppliers.
The Greek Minister also met with Humanitarian Affairs Commissioner Photis Photiou ahead of Tuesday’s handover of remains. After the meeting, he sent out an appeal to all involved in the issue of missing persons, to cooperate at the highest level to resolve the humanitarian concern.
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