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Cyprus To Give Russian Warplanes Emergency Landing Rights

Cyprus's foreign minister says the country is negotiating with Russia on a deal to allow Russian warplanes returning from air strikes in Syria to use Cypriot airports in emergency situations.

Ioannis Kasoulides said on December 7 that the agreement being ironed out now will be along the lines of a similar deal permitting French warplanes to land at Cypriot airports if they're in trouble.

Kasoulides said Cyprus was bound by international law to grant such access in cases of emergency and humanitarian crisis.

He said the agreement with Russia will also permit use of Cypriot facilities to ease the possible evacuation of Russian nationals from neighboring countries.

Cyprus' easternmost tip is less than 160 kilometers from the Syrian coast.

Britain is conducting air strikes from its air base on Cyprus against Islamic State group targets in Syria and Iraq.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP