NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus' defense minister says the east Mediterranean island nation and neighbor Egypt are exchanging information to bolster security around an offshore search for natural gas as part of enhanced defense ties.

Savvas Angelides says the two neighbors' information-sharing extends to countering any extremist threats.

The Cypriot minister says defense ties are also being upgraded between Cyprus, Egypt and Greece as through joint military exercises and personnel exchanges.

Angelides was speaking Wednesday after escorting his counterpart, Lt. Gen. Mohamed Ahmed Zaki, to a meeting with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades.

Cyprus and Egypt share a sea border delineating their respective exclusive economic zones where each country is carrying out exploratory gas drilling.

Officials said a recent discovery of Egypt's Zohr gas field bodes well for more discoveries in Cypriot waters.

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