No US military build-up in Cyprus, island’s FM says

Cyprus’ Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides has rejected statements that the US is looking to set up a military base on the east Mediterranean island as a bulwark against expanding Russian influence in the region. Christodoulides said Friday that he called his Russian counterpart to convey Cyprus’ “grave concern” over the remarks from the Russian Foreign Ministry, AP reports. “They don’t correspond with reality,” Christodoulides told Sigma TV station. Cyprus’ government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said that the matter is considered closed. Moscow had cited information from different sources that US officials had recently inspected military installations on Cyprus with the aim to set up a “forward deployment base for US forces.” Last month, Christodoulides and US Assistant Secretary of State Wess Mitchell signed an agreement to look at ways of expanding cooperation on bolstering regional security. Christodoulides ruled out seeking NATO’s security blanket.