Sovereign Base Area
A Sovereign Base Area is an area that includes, but spreads wider than, a British Armed Forces base, with the whole area forming a British Overseas Territory. As in all British Overseas Territories, the United Kingdom claims sovereignty, but the territory is separate from the British Islands (the United Kingdom and its Crown dependencies).
The only two areas for which the name "Sovereign Base Areas" has ever been used are those located adjacent to the Republic of Cyprus on the island of Cyprus, which was formerly governed by the United Kingdom.
Akrotiri and Dhekelia are United Kingdom's Sovereign Base Areas (SBAs) on Cyprus, a former British Crown Colony . The British Forces Cyprus are stationed there to defend them, and their bases include a British defence radio listening post, and the only full-fledged Royal Air Force air base in the Mediterranean region (since Gibraltar does not have any aircraft permanently based there), called RAF Akrotiri. In addition to its garrisons in the SBAs, British Forces Cyprus also have use of several "Retained Sites" in the territory of the Republic of Cyprus. British Forces Cyprus also make a contribution to the United Nations' peacekeeping force on Cyprus. In total, some 3,500 British personnel are based on Cyprus.
Civilian laws are enacted by the British civilian authorities, but they are patterned on those of the Republic of Cyprus. Many Cypriots work in the SBAs, mainly for the British authorities or as farmers, or for a few local businesses. But only those Cypriots with a local connection are permitted to live there, such as those who live in Akrotiri village or in the outskirts of villages neighbouring the bases. Also the villages of Xylotymvou and Ormidhia are exclaves of the Republic of Cyprus surrounded by the Dhekelia SBA.
The two Sovereign Bases on Cyprus are a British overseas territory, but instead of having a Governor, like most other such territories, it has an Administrator (like Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha, while British Indian Ocean Territory, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and British Antarctic Territory have Commissioners). The Administrator, while being appointed by the British Sovereign, is responsible to the British Ministry of Defence, not to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The Administrator is concurrently the Commander of British Forces Cyprus. Although both the United Kingdom and Cyprus are members of the European Union the SBAs in Cyprus are technically outside of the European Union.
There is an ITU radio call sign (radio prefix) for the Sovereign Base Area, ZC4, which is distinct from that of Cyprus (where "5B" is commonly used). For the purposes of amateur radio, the two Sovereign Bases are considered to be one separate entity.
The SBA covers an area of 98 square miles (250 km2) of Cyprus (47.5 at Akrotiri and 50.5 at Dhekelia). The military bases form a significant part of the Areas, but not the whole, and as in other British Overseas Territories the British Government does not own all of the land. The British Ministry of Defence owns only 20 percent of the land, with 60 percent privately owned (farmland) and the remaining 20 percent of the land being SBA Crown land, including forests, roads, rivers, and the Akrotiri Salt Lake. The UK claims two territorial waters out to three nautical miles and reserves a right to claim out to twelve nautical miles. The UK also has a potential claim to an exclusive economic zone out to 200 miles (that could include the Aphrodite gas field), as the treaty establishing the Republic of Cyprus (Annex I, Section III) specifically excluded any Cypriot claim to the two maritime areas adjacent to the bases.
- British overseas territories
- Sovereign Base Areas Customs
- Sovereign Base Areas Police
- Cyprus Joint Police Unit (CJPU) RMP/RAF Police
- Woodliffe, John (1992). The Peacetime Use of Foreign Military Installations Under Modern International Law. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 360. ISBN 978-0-7923-1879-8. Retrieved 2009-05-12. p.73
- "Treaty concerning the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus, with annexes and selected exchanges of notes". Retrieved 2013-06-16.
- "Sch. 6, British Nationality Act 1981". Office of Public Sector Information. Retrieved 2009-05-12.
- "Hansard". parliament.uk. Retrieved 2013-03-25.
- International Boundaries, A Geopolitical Atlas.
- US State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research, International Boundary Study 1972.