Israel’s Elbit will create a ground surveillance system for Cyprus

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JERUSALEM — The governments of Israel and Cyprus on Thursday signed an agreement to develop a ground-based surveillance system that would see Elbit Systems create the platform.

The agreement was signed by Yair Kulas, the head of the Israeli Defense Ministry’s International Defense Cooperation Directorate, known as SIBAT, and his Cypriot counterpart.

The Israeli ministry would not provide further information, including the value of the contract. But Lt. Col. Christos Pieris, a spokesman for the Cypriot Ministry of Defence, was quoted by Bloomberg as saying the system would be developed over three years at a cost of $32 million. Elbit has not confirmed this information.

Kulas met with Cypriot Defense Ministry Secretary Andreas Louka and the Israeli government said it had discussed “expanding defense cooperation between the respective defense establishments”. Cyprus issued a similar statement.

Reports assumed the system will be for the Green Line in Cyprus, which divides the island between the northern part administered by Turkey and the government of Cyprus. So the contract has caught the eye in Turkey.

Relations between Israel and Cyprus have developed in recent years.

Israeli drone manufacturer Aeronautics also reportedly sold drones to Cyprus in 2019. And in June 2020 Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi met with his Cypriot counterpart, Nikos Christodoulides, to discuss increased trilateral energy cooperation with Greece. – a reference to an agreement on the Eastern Mediterranean Pipeline.

In February 2021, then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades to discuss possibilities of working on “peace and security” issues.

In addition, Israeli commandos have been training in Cyprus and recent reports point to a joint military exercise in Israeli media.

Seth Frantzman is the Israeli correspondent for Defense News. He has covered conflicts in the Middle East since 2010. He has experience covering the international coalition against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, and he is co-founder and executive director of the Middle East Center for Reporting and Analysis. .

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