South Cyprus has agreed to the establishment of a support base on the Mediterranean island for chemical weapons inspectors working in war-torn Syria.
“The Council of Ministers has ratified the agreement between the Republic of Cyprus and the UN-OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) for the establishment of a support base of the joint mission of UN-OPCW,” said a government statement.
The South said that it would facilitate the “safe presence and conduct of the activities of the joint mission”.
A support base has been created within the UN-controlled buffer zone at Nicosia’s disused airport from where inspectors will make the journey to and from Syria which lies around 220km away.
“The decision by the United Nations for the establishment of a support base of the mission in [South] Cyprus demonstrates the stabilising and upgraded role of Cyprus in the region,” said the statement.
Earlier this month UN chief Ban Ki-moon called for the establishment of a “staging area and support base” for 100 staff in South Cyprus.
In a letter addressed to the UN Security Council, Ban also said South Cyprus would be home to the fundraising wing of the chemical weapons operation.
Ten years ago Cyprus was used as a staging post for Iraqi weapons inspectors.