Report: Israel to use warships in joint exercise with Greek Cyprus

April 09, 2013, Tuesday/ 16:57:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Israel is set to send warships to the eastern Mediterranean for a joint military exercise with Greek Cyprus, according to a news report that appeared in the Greek Fileleftheros daily.

Greek Cyprus Defense Minister Fotis Fotiou confirmed that the joint exercise, which will include the participation of four or five Israeli warships, is due to start on April 25, according to the Greek daily.

Fotiou also noted that the Greek Cypriot will focus on the security of the eastern Mediterranean region and that of gas companies.

Turkey, which does not recognize Greek Cyprus as a sovereign country, strongly objects to natural gas exploration being conducted by Greek Cyprus in the Mediterranean. However, in an unexpected announcement at a meeting on Monday, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said that Turkey now considers it possible to cooperate with Greek Cyprus and Israel in joint energy projects in the Mediterranean “so long as the political atmosphere allows it.”

According to the daily, Fotiou also said his country is continuing its efforts to join a NATO peace program called Partnership for Peace (PfP). The peace program allows partner countries to develop individual relationships with the NATO military alliance but without becoming NATO members.

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