Cyprus announces neutrality on possibility of US-led strike on Syria

By REUTERS
September 9, 2013 12:32




NICOSIA - Cyprus said on Monday it would have no involvement of any kind in a potential U.S.-led strike on Syria, which lies about 100 km (60 miles) to its east.

It would, however, be ready to offer assistance to third-country nationals evacuated from the Middle East, Cypriot government spokesman Christos Stylianides said.

The island's close proximity to the Middle East and the British military bases there has given rise to speculation about its role in a US-led strike, even though Britain's parliament has ruled out any offensive operation.

"Any contribution of the Republic of Cyprus is strictly humanitarian," Stylianides said. "It's clear that in no case will it become a launchpad of military operations, or a target of attacks."

A significant number of countries had asked Cyprus to host its nationals and offer humanitarian aid if necessary, Stylianides said in a statement.

With Syria being one of its geographically-closest neighbors, Cypriot officials have been at pains to stress the island is a safe destination.


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