ARMED forces minister Mark Francois has spent three days visiting soldiers and sailors on operations in Cyprus.
The Royal Navy’s Portsmouth-based destroyer HMS Diamond was in the area supporting the international effort to remove chemical weapons from Syria.
And as reported in The News, there are a number of Portsmouth-based troops deployed to Cyprus at the moment as part of a United Nations peacekeeping force.
Mr Francois said: ‘I have been deeply impressed by the professionalism and commitment of all the service personnel, both regular and reservist, that I have met on this visit.
‘The important work that is carried out by British Forces Cyprus and the crucial support HMS Diamond is providing is testament to the varied duties we ask our armed forces to perform.’
Mr Francois travelled to Nicosia to meet soldiers from 28 Engineer Regiment, and other units who are keeping up the UK’s contribution to the UN peacekeeping force.
The final part of the minister’s visit took him on board HMS Diamond at sea.
The Type 45 destroyer has visited Cyprus several times for logistical support as she works with an international team removing chemicals from Syria.
Commander Andy Ingham is the commanding officer of HMS Diamond.
He said: ‘I am pleased he has had the opportunity to meet my ship’s company as it is the people I command who make the ship a capable and versatile platform and who give me a great sense of pride as the commanding officer of one of Her Majesty’s newest warships.’
THE NEWS IN CYPRUS
The News recently spent a week in Cyprus with soldiers from the Portsmouth area as they patrolled the UN buffer zone.
You can read more in a series of special reports.