The US plans to conduct military drills with Cyprus for the first time, thus directly challenging Turkey – a NATO ally. Ankara immediately warned of destabilization in the region if the US plans to hold drills with Cyprus are implemented.
The Twitter account of the US Embassy in Cyprus Twitter posted: “We’re strengthening our security partnership with the Republic of #Cyprus by providing International Military Education and Training. The IMET program promotes regional stability & defence capabilities through professional military education and training.”
We're strengthening our security partnership with the Republic of #Cyprus by providing International Military Education and Training. The IMET program promotes regional stability & defense capabilities through professional military education and training:https://t.co/5uza0Kkqh5
— U.S. Embassy Cyprus (@USEmbassyCyprus) July 8, 2020
The Press Release Read – The United States is pleased to announce our intention to provide International Military Education and Training (IMET) to the Republic of Cyprus. We plan to provide IMET to the Republic of Cyprus beginning in U.S. fiscal year 2021, subject to Congressional appropriations and notification.
Today, @SecPompeo discussed efforts to enhance partnerships with Cyprus and other regional partners to promote stability in the Eastern Mediterranean and counter Russian and Chinese malign influence. pic.twitter.com/20XpCeiJFw
— Department of State (@StateDept) July 8, 2020
The IMET program is a key component of U.S. security assistance, promoting regional stability and defence capabilities through professional military education and training.
Through professional and technical courses, and with specialized instruction, IMET provides students from allied and friendly nations valuable training and education on U.S. military practices and standards. IMET serves as an effective means to strengthen military partnerships and international coalitions that defend our national security interests.
IMET facilitates the development of important professional and personal relationships among defence leaders. It also helps develop a common understanding of shared international challenges and fosters the relationships necessary to counter those challenges collaboratively.
Offering IMET to the Republic of Cyprus is consistent with the Department of State’s Eastern Mediterranean Strategy and the policy intent of the Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act of 2019, both of which aim to strengthen our security partnership with the Republic of Cyprus.
The Republic of Cyprus is an important partner in the Eastern Mediterranean region. We look forward to continuing to deepen our bilateral relationship as we promote regional stability.
Turkey criticized the US decision and said – “Initiatives that do not observe the balance between parties will not contribute to establishing a secure environment on the Island, nor will they help keep peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy.
“As we have stressed many times before, these steps will not contribute to finding a solution to the Cyprus issue but instead strengthens the uncompromising approach of the Greek side,” it added.