Moscow seeks to obtain permission from Cyprus to utilize their airfields. Both Germany and France have been granted the use of Cyprus’ airfields for emergency landings. The Cyprus Mail reported on December 7th that Russia has also requested use of these airfields for Russian aircraft engaged in the fight against terrorism in Syria.
The Russian Ambassador in Cyprus, Stanislav Osadchiy, stated that Moscow is discussing this topic with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Cyprus. “I think we will be able to obtain permission to use the airfields,” the edition quoted Osadchiy. He said that the request is similar to those granted to both France and Germany and expressed his hope that an agreement would be reached soon.
Cyprus’ Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ioannis Kasoulidis, explained that negotiations with Russia revolve around the issue of allowing Russian military aircraft to make emergency landings in Cyprus after operations against ISIS in Syria, AFP reported. The Minister said that according to international law, Cyprus is obliged to provide the ability to land in emergency cases to States with which Cyprus has such an agreement.
A similar agreement was signed between Cyprus and France, which earlier issued a request to utilize their airfields for the emergency landing of aircraft. The British Royal Air Force maintains airbases in Cyprus where they are currently used for dropping bombs on ISIS positions in Syria and Iraq. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron, invited France to use British military bases in South Cyprus as France and Germany are currently using an airbase near Paphos for fuelling and maintenance of its military aircrafts as well as for evacuation purposes.
In February, Russia and Cyprus finalized an agreement on military cooperation, which allows Russian ships to enter the ports of the island State. The agreement is limited to ships which are taking part in international missions in the fight against terrorism.