Once again a warm welcome to you and your delegation. It is an honour and pleasure hosting you today at the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Cyprus.


You are amongst the first Defence Minister’s that pays an official visit to Cyprus after our Government took office last March.


This signifies the long standing and strong bonds of friendship, cooperation and people to people ties.


We already had the opportunity to meet last March in Brussels and we have already set out an ambitious agenda for our future cooperation.


Today we were able to go into more detail and substance. I am sure that our discussions and consultations will deepen and foster closer defence and military cooperation in the near future.


We had very fruitful exchange of views on a number of issues of mutual interest ranging from our bilateral cooperation to pertinent regional security issues, including of course the security situation in Cyprus and in the Western Balkans respectively.


Dear Milos, dear friends,


I am gratified that Cyprus and Serbia enjoy a robust cooperation in defence and security.


We had the opportunity to review our annual programme of defence cooperation which includes exercises, trainings and other activities in both Cyprus and Serbia.



Our two countries also maintain a decade’s long cooperation in the field of armaments. The Serbian defence industry provided valuable support to our armed forces.


This cooperation is based on mutual trust and builds on to our overall excellent bilateral relations. We will have the chance tomorrow to visit our latest acquisition from Serbia the NORA Artillery system, or as it is best known as Alexander The Great System.


From our side we will continue working towards strengthening and enhancing our defence and military cooperation with Serbia, a close partner that will, hopefully in the near future will also be part of our EU family.


We also discussed issues of mutual interest:


I had the chance to be briefed by Minister Vucevic on the latest developments in the north of Kosovo. We are following the latest developments in Kosovo/Metohija with close attention.


Recent clashes between the police and ethnic Serbs in the area, caused by Pristina’s attempts to forcibly access municipal buildings are a source of great concern. We call for de-escalation and continued constructive engagement in the EU facilitated dialogue.


Taking this opportunity let me underscore that Cyprus maintains its principled position on the non-recognition of the unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo. The principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity are inalienable and unquestionable.


The Republic of Cyprus is a staunch supporter of Serbia’s EU accession path. Serbia’s valuable contribution to CSDP missions and operation is also greatly appreciated.


I also had the change to brief Minister Vucevic and his delegation, about the security situation in Cyprus, the Eastern Mediterranean and Turkey’s hybrid warfare activities that threaten regional stability, security and prosperity.