NEWS

Cypriot war games start without Greeks

NICOSIA (AFP) – Greek-Cypriot war games got under way yesterday with the mobilization of 20,000 reservists to test the island’s battle readiness, despite the absence of Greek jets and naval ships. The National Guard decided to go ahead with its annual exercise even though Athens pulled out because of the US air strikes on Afghanistan. Cypriot Defense Minister Socrates Hasikos told reporters that Greece’s non-participation in the exercises for the first time in five years would not hamper their effectiveness. The non-participation of the Greek air force and navy does not affect the exercise scenarios because they can be replaced with other types of aircraft and boats from the National Guard, Hasikos asserted. The exercise will give those who handle weapons systems and anti-aircraft early warning radar the chance to be tested, he added.