Military parade ‘not a show of strength’

`WEDNESDAY’S military parade to commemorate Cyprus’ independence is not designed to cause tension, nor is it a show of strength, Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said yesterday.

“The objective of the military parade is to commemorate our independence day and the 43 years of the Republic of Cyprus. It has no intention either to cause tension or display military might,” Chrysostomides said.

He added that the Republic’s defence programme was continuing and the country’s defence capabilities were at a particularly high level. “As we continue our efforts to find a political settlement through peaceful means, there is no reason to display any military hardware to provoke,” he said.

He also said that the three-day official visit to Cyprus by Greek National Defence Minister Yiannos Papantoniou reflected the close ties between Athens and Nicosia in defence matters.

Papantoniou, who arrived on the island yesterday afternoon, was met by Defence Minister Kyriakos Mavronikolas. Today he meets House President Demetris Christofias. Tomorrow he will be received by President Tassos Papadopoulos.
During his visit, the Greek Minister will address the House Defence Committee, party leaders and meet representatives of enclaved Greek Cypriots living in Turkish occupied Karpass peninsula.

On arrival yesterday, Papantoniou gave strong assurances that Greece would continue to back Cyprus, not only in defence matters but also in the attempt to find a peaceful negotiated settlement that would reunite the divided island.
“My presence and my meetings here highlight the importance that Greece attributes to the joint defence area, the Joint Defence Pact and the wholehearted support towards Cyprus in the effort to find a just, viable and functional political settlement,” Papantoniou said. He stressed that Athens’ support was “continuous, substantive and uninterrupted”.