Cyprus hosted secret US helicopter base for four years, ‘no comment’ says govt

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Source: Cyprus Mail

Cyprus said on Wednesday it had no comment on a US official report showing that the island secretly hosted a $70 million American helicopter base for four years that was quietly shut down in 2017.

Government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou told the Cyprus News Agency: “The government of the Republic has no comment. Questions should be addressed to the US authorities.”

According to a report on ABC news, citing a government document, over nearly four years the US State Department spent some $70 million on a base that was “quickly set up and served little clear purpose before its quiet closing last year”.

It said the base, which was established in September 2013 and closed in August 2017, hosted five helicopters and approximately 40 government contractors at a cost of about $20 million per year, according to a recent report from the State Department Office of the Inspector General (OIG).

The location of the base in Cyprus was not evident from the report but the most likely spot is the British sovereign base at RAF Akrotiri.

“No documentation could be found explaining the purpose of the base, the anticipated cost of any evacuation services, or the likely extent of its usage. Similarly, no documentation could be found addressing potential alternatives to this facility,” the OIG report said.

The Cyprus base was established a year after the Libya Benghazi attack in which four Americans and the ambassador at the time were killed by a mob, which later prompted criticism of the Obama administration for the fact no one could get to them on time.

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