The Russian government has asked South Cyprus if it can rent space at Andreas Papandreou military airbase in Paphos. According to Greek Cypriot daily ‘Simerini’, reporting on Saturday, this is creating a diplomatic problem for the South, since it is normal practice for ‘friendly’ governments to occasionally use the airbase and only if the government agrees.
The South is faced with a problem because the US would not be pleased if the Russians were allowed to rent space there and the Russians would be offended if the South refused to rent it to them.
The government in the South, therefore, finds itself in a tricky position, not wishing to upset either of its allies.
Defence Minister Photis Photiou said that he did not want to comment directly on such a serious and sensitive issue related to Cyprus’ foreign policy. He added that the Ministry of Defence would act responsibly and make the correct decision in conjunction with protecting the country’s national interests.