Israeli and Cypriot officials are planning to discuss allowing the Israeli Air Force to station jets in the neighboring island, Chinese news agency Xinua reported Tuesday.
The issue will be raised during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's
scheduled visit to Cyprus later this month, Xinua quoted Israeli officials as saying.
According to the report, an Israeli embassy official told the Cyprus Mail in January that Netanyahu "will come to Cyprus to emphasize the good relations between the two countries and to strengthen the bilateral relations, which are already good."
Xinua said the Cypriot OnlyCy.com website reported that in September 2011 Israel
asked Cyprus to permit stationing its aircraft at the Andreas Papandreou airbase in Paphos.
However, an Israeli official told the Chinese news agency this week that the prospect of stationing planes in Cyprus "is at the exploratory stage - it's not clear if it will or won't happen."
The official was quoted as saying that a potential offshore airbase "is an existing option, and we're investigating the possibility," but cautioned that such an agreement "isn't totally sewn up."
In January, Israel and Cyprus signed two defense agreements which Cypriot Minister of Defense Demetris Eliades said "set the basis for the further development of relations in the area of defense cooperation."
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