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Cyprus: Military Bases

Volume 487: debated on Tuesday 3 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence since the creation of the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia, how many Cypriot civilians have been forcibly resettled in the region. (252904)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps have been taken to protect the infrastructure in the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia against risks of (a) earthquakes and (b) adverse weather conditions. (252905)

Since 1992, all new buildings in the sovereign base areas (SBA) have been required to comply with the Seismic Code for Reinforced Concrete Structures in Cyprus and the European Community regulations covering buildings in areas vulnerable to the risk of earthquakes.

Responsibility for buildings and civil infrastructure outside the SBA military camps is delegated to the Republic of Cyprus (RoC). As such, all SBA villages are included in the RoC’s earthquake and disaster plan. Officials from the SBA meet twice a year with the RoC to discuss contingency plans and the provision of support in the event of a disaster.

Officials from the SBA also participate twice a year in European Community civil protection exercises. These are hosted by the RoC and are aimed at both improving co-ordination between the relevant agencies, and ensuring the suitability of contingency plans in response to natural disasters and emergency situations on the island of Cyprus.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Royal Navy maintains a permanent presence in the Mediterranean. (252906)

The Royal Navy’s permanent presence in the Mediterranean consists of the squadrons based in Gibraltar and Cyprus who operate two Maritime Patrol Vessels each. In addition, the Royal Navy routinely undertakes maritime security operations and NATO taskings in the region.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his plans are for the future of the medical facilities of Princess Mary’s RAF Hospital at Akrotiri. (252907)

A project is currently under way to consider the future provision of secondary health care in Cyprus. A range of options is being considered. None have yet been ruled out. Final implementation is expected to take in the region of two years.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Cypriot civilians inhabiting the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia. (252910)

The civilian population of the sovereign base areas (SBA) is determined by census undertaken by the Republic of Cyprus. The last census, conducted in 2001, confirmed the following figures:

Cypriot civilians in Akrotiri: 4,329

Cypriot civilians in Dhekelia: 2,642

The Republic of Cyprus is due to conduct its next census in 2011.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how often he has met the Foreign Secretary in the last 12 months to discuss events in the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia. (252913)

In the last 12 months, the Secretary of State for Defence has not met the Foreign Secretary specifically to discuss the sovereign base areas; although they have met regularly, discussing a wide range of topics including exchanges on Cyprus.

Both MOD and FCO maintain a keen interest in the sovereign base areas, which receive regular visits by Ministers. I visited both Akrotiri and Dhekelia in December 2008; the former Under-Secretary of State my hon. Friend the Member for Halton (Derek Twigg) visited in May 2008 and the former Secretary of State my right hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock and Loudoun (Des Browne) visited in April 2007.