Cyprus said on Friday that it has approved the establishment of a support base on the Mediterranean island for chemical weapons inspectors deployed in war-hit Syria.
“The Council of Ministers has ratified the agreement between the Republic of Cyprus and the U.N.-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.
Cyprus said it would facilitate the “safe presence and conduct of the activities of the joint mission”.
A support base has been created within the U.N.-controlled buffer zone at Nicosia's disused airport from where inspectors will travel to and from Syria, some 220 kilometres (140 miles) away.
“The decision by the United Nations for the establishment of a support base of the mission in Cyprus demonstrates the stabilising and upgraded role of Cyprus in the region,” said the statement.
Earlier this month U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon called for the establishment of a “staging area and support base” for 100 staff in Cyprus.
In a letter addressed to the U.N. Security Council, Ban also said Cyprus would be home to the fundraising wing of the chemical weapons operation.
Cyprus was used as a staging post for Iraqi weapons inspectors a decade ago.
Cyprus agrees base for Syria chemical inspections