Address by the Minister of Defence, Mr Charalambos Petrides, at the 1st Cyprus Air Force Aviation Conference organised by the Air Force Command of the National Guard, in Larnaka
I welcome the decision of the National Guard and the Air Force to hold this very pertinent and timely conference.
I hope that this conference will become an institution for years to come as it will help to bring about best practices and ideas for the future. The presence of prestigious speakers and distinguished guests from more than 11 countries proves the importance of its thematic areas.
The speed of events on the international stage, the gravity of security threats in Europe and the wider Eastern Mediterranean and the unpredictability of geopolitical changes, force us to reassess our ability and willingness to act in a modern and technologically advanced environment.
The Republic of Cyprus supports the various defence initiatives within the European Union, and advances its defence cooperation with countries in the region.
At the same time, our core task and mission is to defend the national security and interests of Cyprus, mitigate the imminent threat we face from Turkish revisionism, strengthen our resilience, and create a capable deterrent force to protect our citizens and sovereign rights.
In the context I mentioned above, we actively participate in the Permanent Structured Cooperation, in numerous capabilities projects of the European Defence Agency, in EDIDP projects and European Defence Fund Research and Innovation projects.
I would like to highlight that we are participating in a significant number of projects aimed at improving the Air Forces, taking into account the technological developments and the need for interoperability. We have also significantly modified the processes of national defence planning by adopting economies of scale and the European cooperative approach.
In recent years we have also increased our total defence spending, almost reaching the 2% benchmark of Gross Domestic Product, even in 2021, when the pandemic has weighed on public finances. To this end, we will continue to exploit the synergies and opportunities offered by the European Defense Fund and the local defence R&D ecosystem which we fully support.
The Air Force of tomorrow should be an important tool in shaping our strategic goals and achieving our political and military level of ambition. I would like to reiterate that it is a commitment by the Ministry of Defense that the input of experts, operational, academia and defence industry, guides any decisions made in our defence planning. Our vision for a better and more effective military is mutual.
With these thoughts I wish you productive work in the coming days.
I thank you for your interest to participate and I congratulate the National Guard and the Air Force Command for this initiative.
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