BRITAIN has two extensive sovereign base areas on the Mediterranean island, occupying 254 sq km or about 3% of its territory, which it retained when Cyprus won independence in 1960.
About 2,880 military personnel and 1,610 civilians work at the bases, which support Britain’s troops in Afghanistan and provide a platform for other operations in an unstable region.
Cyprus opposed use of the bases to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya, and Britain said it is not using them for that purpose.
A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said the review would cover “what we have, how we use it, if we can use it better”, but did not say whether a base could be closed.
The year-old government has already carried out a strategic defence review, which has led to sharp cuts in military personnel and equipment as the government seeks an 8% real-terms cut in defence spending over four years.
In November 2009, the United Nations said Britain had offered to hand over almost half of its sovereign territory in Cyprus to facilitate a peace deal between the island’s divided Greek and Turkish Cypriots.
Earlier this afternoon, the Ministry of Defence announced that Lord Ashcroft will lead review and will work alongside Patrick Mercer MP.
They will report by the end of the year.