NICOSIA, Cyprus — Britain’s defense minister says authorities want to ensure that British armed forces “work closer and more supportively” with Cyprus’ military in tackling common challenges.

Britain has two military bases on Cyprus, which was a British colony until 1960. It continues to carry out air strikes against Islamic State group targets in Iraq and Syria from the Mediterranean island nation.

Defense Minister Gavin Williamson said after talks with Cypriot counterpart Christoforos Fokaides on Friday that the threats faced by the U.K. and Cyprus cannot be underestimated.

Williamson thanked Cyprus for supporting Britain’s role in fighting IS.

Fokaides says Cyprus’ enhanced military ties with Britain won’t be affected by Britain’s departure from the European Union next year.