Greece plans to participate in joint air force drills with Cyprus, Egypt and Israel, Greek defence minister, Panos Kammenos, announced today.
Kammenos added that some European countries will also participate in the military exercises, noting that the drills were agreed as part of the efforts to bolster stability in the Middle East region.
The defence minister’s remarks came after a military parade that was held in the Cypriot capital of Nicosia to commemorate the 57th anniversary of the ethnically divided island’s independence. Since mid-1970s, Cyprus has been Cyprus has been politically divided into two main ethnic groups, Greeks and Turks.
The parade included an overflight of the Greek Air Force F-16 jets, the first showing of the Greek warplanes at the event in 16 years.
On his part, the island’s Greek Cypriot President, Nicos Anastasiades, said that “there will be no let-up in efforts to reunify Cyprus,” despite July’s collapse of peace talks with breakaway Turkish Cypriots.
The joint exercises came as a result of the rclose relations between Egypt and Israel, following the role Egypt has played in influencing the Gaza-based Islamic movement Hamas in its different matters with Israel.
The Egyptian President, Abd Al-Fattah Al-Sisi, said in an interview with New York-headquarted Fox News that 50 Arab countries would strengthen their relations with Israel if The Jewish state reached a peace agreement with the Palestinians.