Chinese navy frigate ‘Yangcheng’, which is part of the removal of Syrian chemical weapons operations, is docked at Limassol port
South Cyprus Defence Minister, Photis Photiou was on board to inspect the vessel.
Photiou, who was accompanied by Chinese Ambassador Liu Xinsheng (pictured above), said that this was the first time a Chinese warship had visited Cyprus, and gave assurances that the South Cyprus government would provide any facilities needed in order for the operation to be successful.
He added that he was in contact with the Chinese Ambassador for his visit to Beijing and that a defence agreement was being formulated.
The Minister said that Cyprus could not be used as a place to destroy the chemical weapons, and noted that the government has received assurances from the UN and the countries participating in the mission that the weapons would not be destroyed near Cyprus.
The Chinese Ambassador said “China supports the efforts of international community for the Syrian chemical weapons and we come to Cyprus to participate in this international operation.”
“That shows our support for the operation of the international community, especially the UN. We wish this operation success,” he added. However, when asked about the timing of the operation, the Ambassador said he did not know when the operation would begin.
Last October, the South Cyprus Cabinet approved the establishment of a support base for a UN – OPCW mission as well as the provision of facilities for the mission’s safety and operations in the island.