Cypriot foreign minister: It’s rubbish to say that we are giving bases to Russia

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Asked by EURACTIV to comment on press reports about Cyprus being ready to provide air and maritime bases to Russia, Cypriot foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides branded them “rubbish”.

“It is rubbish to talk about as I saw in publications, about ‘military bases’. The question of facilities we are talking about are facilities of purely humanitarian nature and not facilities of military nature. And they will not involve the Andreas Papandreou military airbase of Cyprus.

“It’s about the evacuation of Russian citizens in case of a war in the Middle East, in the same way that Cyprus has a number of agreements with other countries for the same purpose,” Kasoulides said.

The minister explained that the present Cypriot agreement for military cooperation with Russia covered the procurement of spare parts and the maintenance of arms that have been purchased by Cyprus from Russia.

He said an agreement is needed to continue this cooperation.  He explained that this was an agreement that existed for years, that expired last December and needed renewal.

Kasoulides explained that Cyprus needed such agreement with Russia because an embargo prevents his country from acquiring arms except from France or Russia.

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