NICOSIA, June 23 (Itar-Tass) - Cyprus is studying an opportunity to allow Russia to station its military aircraft at the Andreas Papandreou Airbase, Defence Minister Fotis Fotiu said.
The minister commented on Russia’s request to station its aircraft at Paphos in exchange for easing the conditions for a loan, which was provided in 2011.
Fotiu categorically denies such view. “Such question has not been raised,” he added.
Fotiu said Cyprus’ contribution to Russia to allow Russian military ships to enter the Limassol Port and Russian aircraft to use the Andreas Papandreou Airbase had been discussed at the recent meeting with Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, and by the Foreign Ministers, Sergei Lavrov and Ioannis Kasoulides in St Petersburg as well. Such contribution is also made by other countries, including by Germany, France, the United States and Israel, the Cypriot minister said.
“I want to explain that the problem of creating a permanent Russian base in Cyprus was not discussed.” “Russia upholds Cyprus and our close relations will be continued and strengthened,” the Cypriot minister added.