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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 98-05-12

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, May 12, 1998

'CIA plotting to provoke military incident'

Tharros ran an 'exclusive' yesterday claiming the CIA were working undercover to create a "military incident" in Cyprus as a way of facilitating a settlement.

Following the "abject" failure of US envoy Richard Holbrooke to make any progress towards re-starting settlement talks, the US were trying an altogether more sinister tack. the right-wing paper reported. The CIA would engineer some sort of provocation with the aim of creating some sort of military confrontation on the island, thus forcing the two sides to seek a settlement fast, Tharros said.

A "diplomatic source" had revealed that secret services in Cyprus, Greece and other European countries had caught wind of this US plot, the paper said.

The Americans also believe a "controlled incident" would help "freeze" the situation on the island and ensure the S-300 missiles failed to arrive in Cyprus, realising US goals, the paper reported.

"Military sources" told Tharros that Athens, Ankara and Nicosia had been crawling with CIA agents over the past month, the paper reported.

CIA conspiracy theories apart, Centre-right Diko's weekend conference took centre stage on the front pages of the dailies yesterday.

Alithia reported that Diko leader Spyros Kyprianou was facing "suffocating" pressure to resign. This was the clear message to come out of all of the delegates' speeches during a stormy and confrontational session on Sunday, Alithia reported.

However, the right-wing paper said, neither Kyprianou nor his likely successor -- party parliamentary spokesman Tassos Papadopoulos -- were prepared to slug it out in a leadership contest. The two men had made this clear in public statements, the paper said.

A deal was therefore being hammered out behind the scenes in the party, whereby Kyprianou would remain as party leader for one year and then step down in favour of Papadopoulos, who would be given the position of party vice-president in the meantime. Alithia said the low down on the deal had been gleaned from reliable sources within the party.

Phileleftheros echoed Alithia's report about the back-room deal, saying the position of party vice-president was to be created to facilitate the arrangement. But Phileleftheros stated the proposal was not all that popular within the party ranks, even if there was consensus that any change in leadership should be done without open confrontation if at all possible.

The paper said Papadopoulos had made it clear he would not stand against Kyprianou in a party election. The ball was now in the party leader's court, Phileleftheros stated.

Kyprianou appeared willing to hand over the reins, the paper reported, but not in the near future.

Support for Papadopoulos as leader was growing within the party, but so was support for Kyprianou's claims to stay on, Phileleftheros said.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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