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Cyprus insists it is only offering US humanitarian assistance

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Nicosia does not consider its agreement to temporarily station a rapid US response unit to evacuate US diplomatic missions and citizens, if needed, creates any problems for Cyprus’ security.

An official source told CNA that the US request did not in any scenario have to do with using Cyprus for launching military operations.

“The request that was submitted, as a precautionary measure, clearly has to do with a humanitarian operation and this is why Cyprus’ response was positive, in the framework of our long-standing policy,” the source said.

Cypriot approval of the U.S. demand – to have a deployment team based at Paphos airbase – comes after Iran fired more than a dozen missiles at US-Iraqi airbases in retaliation for an American airstrike that killed a top Iranian general.

Due to its geographical position, Cyprus was also used in the past to evacuate people from regions where crises broke out, as happened during the war in Lebanon in 2006.

Cyprus recently held an exercise involving 21 countries to test for such evacuation scenarios.

“What we are saying about the provision of humanitarian assistance in the cases of a crisis are not just words but are being implemented in a tangible way when a country requests this.”

Cyprus said it will continue to act as a stability and security factor in the region, by making use of its geographical position and the excellent relations it maintains with countries in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.