Cyprus army cre­ates pro­fes­sional con­tin­gent

Kathimerini English - - Focus -

NICOSIA (AFP) – The Cyprus Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day ap­proved leg­is­la­tion slash­ing mil­i­tary service for con­scripts from 24 months to 14 months, in the big­gest re­form of the Greek-Cypriot army in decades. New con­scripts to the Na­tional Guard will serve for 14 months, while those called to arms last year will do a re­duced 18 months. Greek-Cypriot par­ents have long crit­i­cized the length of time served, say­ing it in­ter­rupts fur­ther ed­u­ca­tion and ca­reer prospects of their sons. Re­duc­ing army service was an elec­tion pledge by Pres­i­dent Ni­cos Anas­tasi­ades when he came to power in March 2013 and the cab­i­net ap­proved a draft law in Fe­bru­ary. De­fense Min­is­ter Christo­foros Fokaides has said re­duc­ing mil­i­tary service is the first step to­ward cre­at­ing a pro­fes­sional army as part of wide-rang­ing re­forms. He said it would also see a de­cline in draft-dodg­ing. To make up the short­fall in num­bers, 3,000 po­si­tions have been cre­ated for pro­fes­sional sol­diers on

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