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United Arab Emirates and Cyprus sign their first military cooperation agreement.

Image Credit: Iakovos Hatzistavrou/AFP via Getty Images

On Tuesday, United Arab Emirates and Cyprus signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) to strengthen cooperation on the defence and military levels. The United Arab Emirates and Cyprus Defense Ministers said,

We consider this MoU as a step towards developing a long term, sustained and robust defence partnership between Cyprus and the UAE.

Cyprus Minister of State for Defence  Charalambos Petrides

The agreement affirms the depth of our strategic relations with Cyprus.

UAE Minister of State for Defence, Mohammed Al-Bawardi

Cyprus is attempting to secure more allies after the recent tension between it’s ally Greece and Turkey. The European Union and the United States had to intervene to avoid a potential conflict when Turkey sent the ship, Oruc Reis multiple times to the south of the Greek island of Kastellorizo, to conduct seismic surveys to search natural gas reserves. The area is disputed between Greece and Turkey, and challenges the Greek- Egyptian gas exploration deal.

There are also direct disputes between Cyprus and Turkey over exploration rights. The Republic of Cyprus and Greece do not accept the rights for oil and gas exploration in Northern Cyprus, a region which is defended by Turkey. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is not internationally recognized. Regardless of this, Turkey sent two drilling ships last year, to the waters of Cyprus.

Last August, a planned joint military aeronautical exercise was launched in the South of Cyprus. The military drill which was dubbed as ‘Eunomia’, was a three-day military exercise between four countries; Italy, France, Greece and Cyprus. It was planned in response to growing tensions between Greece and Turkey over exclusive economic zones(EEZ). The drills came to an end on 28th August. France and Greece used military aircraft and warships in the exercise and Cyprus and activated their air defense system.

Cyprus has military agreements with Israel, Egypt and Jordan and the addition of United Arab Emirates bolsters its security in the Eastern Mediterranean. Cyprus also signed a deal to train Lebanon’s army. United Arab Emirates and Cypriot forces will hold joint military exercises, training programs and also expanding operational cooperation as per cooperation agreement. Last November both countries conducted a large-scale air and sea military exercise off Egyptian coast with French, Greek and Egyptian forces in an operation code-named ‘Medusa’.

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