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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 98-05-21

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, May 21, 1998

What are the British up to?

THE OPENING of a military air-strip in the British base of Dhekelia was treated as evidence of suspect manoeuvring on the part of the British by right-wing Machi yesterday.

The landing of an RAF Hercules C-130 transport plane at the Kingsfield air- strip on Tuesday was the subject of a bases press release, but was seen by Machi as front-page news, under the banner headline "British Manoeuvres".

Machi said the base authorities were unable to provide "convincing" explanations when asked what use the air-strip would be put to in the future. The paper added that the government had not been informed of the reasons which had led the British to upgrade the air-strip.

"The simple statement by the Bases that the upgrading works were done to enable aircraft to use Kingsfield regularly if need be intensified concerns about the real aims and role of the British bases in Cyprus," Machi stated. "These moves on the part of the British... throw up a series of questions concerning the reasons which dictated the upgrading of Dhekelia base at this time," the paper added.

On a completely different front, Agon reported that the identity of the HIV-positive priest, believed to be none other than Pancratios Meraklis - whose supporters rioted in Nicosia in 1996 after the Archbishop claimed their favourite was gay - was leaked not from within the island but from Greece.

The issue of who leaked the results of a blood-test that the priest had undergone in search of a diagnosis for an illness has been a topic of much debate and recrimination, not least before the House. Agon stated the Medical Association, which was investigating the issue, was leaning towards the conclusion that the leak, and violation of the medical code of ethics, had come from Greece.

Phileleftheros reported that the government is to go ahead with exhuming the remains of suspected missing persons in the free areas even if the Turkish side does not do likewise.

Under a deal struck between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash last July, the two sides are meant to dig up mass graves on both sides of the divide at the same time, in an effort to write an epitaph on the issue of the missing.

With the process dragging it's feet, Phileleftheros said it had information that the government was planning to push ahead with its part of the deal regardless.

The paper did not speculate whether the graves to be dug up were thought to contain the remains of Greek Cypriot or Turkish Cypriot missing, but said mass graves in the Nicosia cemetery and the Lakatamia military cemetery were to be opened up.

Victims of the invasion had been buried at these sites without being identified, the paper reported.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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