Cyprus displeased at reports that British bases provide help to Syrian rebels
Cyprus said on Thursday it had asked Britain to give an official explanation for a Sunday Times report alleging that the British Sovereign Bases in Cyprus provide intelligence to Syrian rebels which helped them deal effective strikes against the Syrian army.
Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Markoulli told the state radio that she had instructed the Cypriot High Commissioner (Ambassador) in London to make a demarche to the British Foreign Ministry asking for official information on the report.
"It is a very serious issue if the Bases are being used for purposes other than those explicitly set out in the Treaty of Establishment," Markouli said.
She said she expected a British reply by the end of the day.
Markoulli added that the 1960 Treaty of Establishment under which Cyprus was granted independence states that two bases retained by Britain can only be used for defensive purposes.
British paper the Sunday Times claimed on Sunday that British agents operating in the British bases were collecting intelligence on Syrian army movements which is then channeled through Turkey to forces fighting the the Syrian army.
A spokesman for the British High Commission in Cyprus on Monday refused to confirm or deny the report, citing the official government position not to comment on intelligence or operational matters.
[Source: Xinhua, Nicosia, 23Aug12]
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