Minister: Cyprus safe for visitors
The Foreign Minister for Cyprus has moved to reassure tourists visiting in the coming weeks and months about the island's safety as international intervention in neighbouring war-torn Syria looks incr
The Foreign Minister for Cyprus has moved to reassure tourists visiting in the coming weeks and months about the island’s safety as international intervention in neighbouring war-torn Syria looks increasingly likely.
Mr Ioannis Kasoulides said that the island’s military bases would not play a significant role in any action against Syria, which lies just 98km away, although they were prepared for every ‘eventuality’.
Mr Kasoulides continued: “We take precautionary measures but that does not mean that there is any foreseeable threat to the safety of Cyprus, its population and its tourism.”
The minister was responding to reports that the island’s military bases would be used to launch attacks on President Assad’s regime.
“Cyprus as a country of stability, peace and security is ready to undertake the responsibility of acting as a shelter in the evacuation of foreign nationals of friendly countries from the Middle East region if needed.
“This is the capacity that we want to safeguard and we have received assurances that (Cyprus’) territory will not be used as a launching pad. We cannot be a safe haven of peace and security on the one hand and a launching pad on the other.”
Last week six RAF Typhoon jets arrived a the Royal Air Force base in Akrotiri although the Defence Ministry said this was purely a ‘prudent and precautionary measure’.
The British government has amended its advice for travelers heading to Cyprus, warning on its www.gov.uk website, of an ‘increased risk of demonstrations, linked to the possibility of military action in Syria’ and asking tourists to be ‘vigilant’.
The sunshine island attracts around a million Britons to its shores every year with late summer breaks enduringly popular.
ABTA, the Travel Association, also moved to reassure tourists, saying: “Cyprus is a popular winter sun destination, offering guaranteed sunshine and golden beaches. It’s business as usual in all the Cypriot resorts and there are no travel restrictions in place.
“As with any destination, should the Foreign Office change its travel advice holidaymakers who have booked a package will be entitled to reschedule or their money back.”