Three European Union member countries and three Middle Eastern countries are looking to train personnel in border, customs, maritime and cybersecurity techniques at a state-of-the-art US-funded facility in Cyprus that is expected to be ready early in the year. next year, said the Cypriot Minister for Foreign Affairs. Thursday.

The Cyprus Center for Land, Maritime and Port Security (CYCLOPS) is expected to start operating on January 16, 2022, Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides said after inspecting the facility under construction with US Ambassador Judith Garber.

Christodoulides said Cyprus was chosen for the center because the Mediterranean island nation is located at the south-eastern end of the EU and because it has good relations with nations in the Middle East.

“Officials from neighboring countries as well as from EU member states will receive the type of training necessary to counter common threats of a non-military nature,” he said.

CYCLOPS will include state-of-the-art equipment and a mobile facility to train officials on how to best protect key infrastructure projects and conduct cyber investigations and border checks. The United States will provide training equipment and personnel.

Cypriot government spokesman Kyriakos Koushos said US President Joe Biden sees Cyprus as an “important partner” in strengthening regional security in the Eastern Mediterranean and pledged to further strengthen US-Cypriot relations .

Biden made the remarks in a letter to Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, Koushos said. In the letter, the US president looks forward to working with Anastasiades to address issues of common interest in the eastern Mediterranean, the spokesperson said.

Cyprus and the United States have forged closer security ties in recent years, culminating in Congress approval in 2019 of the Eastern Mediterranean Energy and Security Partnership Act, which highlighted support America to an energy partnership between Greece, Cyprus and Israel.

Under this law, the United States is providing ethnically divided Cyprus with funding for military training and has partially lifted an arms embargo that was enacted 33 years ago to prevent a possible race for armaments to undermine peace talks with the country’s separatist Turkish Cypriots.

Cyprus has authorized ExxonMobil to explore for oil and gas in waters where the island nation has exclusive economic rights.

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