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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 98-05-22

Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cynews.com/>


Friday, May 22, 1998

'Important' low-key exercises

HALF the newspapers yesterday waxed lyrical about the Greek forces' air and sea exercise, codenamed Toxotis and Vergina, which covered the Crete-Rhodes- Cyprus triangle. The rest stuck with the political aspects of the national problem.

Machi announced that, as part of the exercise, a Greek air force C-130 plane would drop paratroopers in the Larnaca area. The paper also reported that four F-16 fighters had flown over the Paphos air base. These planes were 'protected' by another four fighters flying at a high altitude, the paper reported.

Military sources told the paper that the exercises "are considered very important" because they tested the adequacy of the Dogma of the Unified Defence Space.

Agon reported that the Toxotis exercise involved an air attack on the Paphos air base which had to be repelled. The Greek fighter planes were treated as hostile.

Little publicity had been given to the exercise because the governments in Athens and Nicosia had decided that any military exercises relating to the Defence Dogma would be low-key.

Alithia said that shortly after the appearance of the Greek fighters over Paphos, the Cyprus government stressed its support for the gradual demilitarisation of Cyprus.

However, the government spokesman declined to say whether the visit of the Greek fighters was a response to the overflights ban proposed by the US. He did admit that the government was ready to discuss a ban as well as any other "major steps" towards demilitarisation.

Phileleftheros said President Clerides, in his speech at the opening of the State Fair had finally broken his "20-day silence on the Cyprus issue". Relations with Cyprus of any country that recognised the occupation regime would deteriorate, he warned.

He also made some 'openings' with regard to the S-300 missiles. For the first time he did not set demilitarisation as a condition for the cancellation of the missile order. "The immediate implementation of measures serving the target of demilitarisation" would suffice.

Simerini led with the same issue, saying that the Cyprus Republic would never accept the recognition of the pseudo-state in any guise. According to diplomatic sources, if this happened it would signal the closing of the problem before talks had even begun.

This message was made ahead of the arrival of US envoys and was directed at the US and Britain as well as certain European countries like Italy who were considering "the acknowledgement" of "the entity" or the "administration" in the north.

Haravghi reported that Akel leader Demetris Christofias had joined Larnacans protesting outside the presidential palace over the government's plan to turn Larnaca port into a marina.

Christofias said that Clerides had gone back on his election promise to support the creation of a general purpose port for Larnaca.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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