December 16, 2017

Measures the Republic of Cyprus has taken following Air-Strikes in Afghanistan

The Cyprus government has moved quickly with a view to avert any panic among the public, following the US-British air strikes in Afghanistan, stressing that there is no cause for alarm and calling on people to go about their business as normal. Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou, Communications and Works Minister Averof Neofytou and Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou stepped in today to convey as firmly as possible the message that people must remain calm and that everything is under control.

Replying to questions, he said that Finance Minister Takis Klerides is set to have a telephone conversation tomorrow with his American counterpart to discuss matters with regard to the effort to curtail the funding of terrorists and the measures that various countries are taking to this effect.

The spokesman said that the government will not disclose any information the movement of military aircraft either in the Republic’s air space or within Nicosia FIR (Flight Information Region). Cyprus granted last week landing rights and the use of its air space to American military aircraft, following a request from Washington. Britain, whose forces also participate in the military attack against Afghanistan, maintains on the island two military bases, which it retained when Cyprus became an independent nation in 1960.

The government will continue to back a firm policy on the fight against terrorism and will leave no doubt as to which camp it belongs,” the spokesman said, replying to questions, only to add that “Cyprus, to the extent that it can, will contribute to the international campaign against terrorism.”

Minister Neofytou said the number of flights within Nicosia FIR have doubled since the start of the US-British air strikes in Afghanistan on Sunday because Iran and Afghanistan closed their air corridors. He said since the terrorist attack in the US on September 11, security measures have been stepped up at airports and flights of light private aircraft have been banned. Commenting on the situation on the island, as the US-led offensive is unfolding, Minister Christodoulou said that there is no information that Cyprus is facing or will face any danger from terrorist organizations, but noted that the country has to remain on heightened alert.