French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron’s statements on defense cooperation between Nicosia and Paris last January were the mark of the successful conclusion of the long-running processes concerning the French presence in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea with a base in Cyprus. Already the construction of berths which will host the French warships is proceeding rapidly in the area of the “Evangelos Florakis” naval base in Mari.
The fact that Macron’s statements were made after his private meeting with President Anastasiades shows that at the highest level, the two countries have laid the groundwork for deepening their relations in a critical area such as security. As government sources stated to Cyprus media, this is a win-win cooperation, since on the one hand the French military presence will act as a European protection shield for the Republic of Cyprus and on the other France will continue to be part of the region’s security system, following the loss of the bases it held in Lebanon and Syria.
Emmanuel Macron in his statements could not have been clearer by saying: “In particular, Cyprus is an intermediary station for the French navy and especially for the task force formed around the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier. I count very much on this cooperation, which reflects the ambition of a sovereign Europe that provides the means to protect itself. This cooperation is for me an important element of European defense planning which we have greatly strengthened over the last year. ” It should be noted that France since 1974 has been a major source of military supplies to Cyprus, when almost all Western countries were bound by the embargo imposed by the United States.
Macron and Nikos Anastasiadis will meet in Nicosia or Paris in the coming weeks to form official positions on defense cooperation between the two countries, with the use of the “Evangelos Florakis” naval base in Mari. Even this week, the finishing touch on the canvas of the deal comes with the presence of French officers in Nicosia for co-operation with Cypriot National Guard officers.
In the coming days, French Defense Minister Florence Parli will visit Cyprus, to meet with her counterpart Savvas Angelidis, to study the results of the contacts of military experts and give the green light for announcements by the Presidents. Maritime infrastructure projects have begun months ago, but there has been a cessation period related to funding and some bureaucratic complications in France.