Published: 09:45, June 21, 2024
Cyprus denies involvement in Middle East conflicts
By Xinhua
Cyprus' President Nikos Christodoulides arrives for a special European Council at the EU headquarters in Brussels on April 17, 2024. (PHOTO / AFP)

NICOSIA -  Cyprus said on Thursday that it is not involved in any way in the conflicts in the Middle East, dismissing claims made by the leader of Hezbollah in Lebanon Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.

Replying to a direct threat by Nasrallah that Cyprus may become a legitimate target if it sides with Israel in any potential attack against his organization in Lebanon, Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides said that Cyprus "is not part of the problem," and "is part of the solution."

He pointed to Cyprus' role in providing a humanitarian corridor for the transfer of humanitarian aid from Larnaca to Gaza, a feat which he says "is being recognized not only by the Arab world but by the entire international community."

Nasrallah declared on Wednesday in a televised speech that "the Cypriot government must be warned that opening Cypriot airports and bases for the Israeli enemy to target Lebanon means that the Cypriot government has become part of the war, and the resistance (Hezbollah) will deal with it as part of the war."

He also mentioned that Cyprus allows its airspace and military facilities to be used for Israel for joint exercises with Cypriot forces.

Such statements are not pleasant, but they do not reflect reality. Cyprus is not participating in any military engagements.

Nikos Christodoulides,  Cypriot President 

Christodoulides said that Nasrallah's remarks were troubling but refuted any claims suggesting Cyprus' involvement in military operations.

"Such statements are not pleasant, but they do not reflect reality. Cyprus is not participating in any military engagements," he reiterated.

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Christodoulides added that Cyprus will communicate its positions to Hezbollah through diplomatic means, saying that the government has a communication channel with both the Government of Lebanon and the Government of Iran.

Government spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis acknowledged that Cyprus participates in joint exercises with Israel but added that these are aimed at increasing the defensive capabilities of the Cypriot forces and are not aimed against any country.

He also stressed that Cyprus would not allow any country to carry out military operations through Cyprus by permitting the use of its territory and military installations.

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However, Cyprus does not have control over Britain's sovereign military bases in Cyprus, which have their own special status, Letymbiotis said.

Under the Treaty of Establishment which led to the creation of the first Cypriot state in 1960, former colonial power Britain retained two bases on the eastern Mediterranean island, which have the status of a British overseas territory.