France moves closer to building military base on Southern Cypriot land

Hürriyet Haber
03 Ağustos 2006 - 11:56Son Güncelleme : 03 Ağustos 2006 - 12:02

Military cooperation between France and Southern Cyprus was decided on last week at a meeting in Nicosia between French Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie and South Cypriot leader Tasos Papadopoulos. A message asking permission to build a French military base on the island was reportedly delivered by the French minister of defense to Papadopouos from French President Jacques Chirac.

Details of the agreement between the two countries will be worked out in the coming month, with ministers and leaders from the two countries expected to sign a formal treaty sometime during September in Paris. Until now, Southern Cyprus has only ever had a military cooperation agreement with Greece.
 
Advantages experts believe France will gain from building a base in Southern Cyprus are as follows:
 
----The ability to provide logistical support for future operations in the Middle East, such as sending troops in to held along the border between Lebanon and Israel.
 
----Distance from the threat of groups like Hizbollah, while maintaining proximity to all Middle Eastern countries.
 
----The ability to become a more active participant in the turbulent developments of the eastern Mediterranean.
 
----The permission to use other military and air bases in Southern Cyprus.
 
For the Southern Cypriots, the real target is Turkey
 
Alongside the advantages the French are hoping to grab by building a base in Southern Cyprus, the Cypriots too are expecting to benefit from this military agreement. For a long time, Southern Cyprus has been searching out full support within the EU from France against Turkey's quest for accession. Some of the contents in the agreement between France and Southern Cyprus as specified by Papadopoulos' authority:
 
----Despite the military embargo implemented against Southern Cyprus, the Southern Cypriot army will be able to gain advanced technology weapons from the French.
 
----The French army will provide military training for the Southern Cypriot army.
 
----France is expected to support Southern Cyprus in its quest to join in certain international organizations that it has thus far been barred from.

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