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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 96-09-01

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: "HR-Net News Distribution Manager" <dist@hri.org>


CONTENTS

  • [01] Greek Defence Minister in Cyprus
  • [02] Arsenis: Greco-Cypriot defence pact matched by cultural links
  • [03] Arsenis pays tribute to murdered Greek Cypriot
  • [04] Arsenis spells out future role for Greece
  • [05] Defence pact stays put, says President

  • 1105:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Greek Defence Minister in Cyprus

    Larnaca, Sep 1 (CNA) -- Greece's Defence Minister Gerasimos Arsenis arrived here today for a brief visit on a special flight aboard a military C-130 aircraft.

    The Minister was met at the airport by his Cypriot counterpart Costas Eliades, the commander of the National Guard, Lieutenant General Nicolaos Vorvolakos.

    Later today, Arsenis and President Glafcos Clerides will welcome to Cyprus a Greek navy landing craft ''Samos'', due in Limassol port.

    Tomorrow Arsenis will be received by the President and address a conference of overseas Cypriots.

    CNA MM/KN/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1220:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] Arsenis: Greco-Cypriot defence pact matched by cultural links

    Larnaca, Sep 1 (CNA) -- Greece's joint defence pact with Cyprus has changed the defence balance in the region and is matched by the cultural links between the two countries, Greek Defence Minister Gerasimos Arsenis has said.

    He expressed the conviction that Cyprus' struggle for freedom and justice will be vindicated and said Cyprus, unified and truly independent, shall live as a member of the European Union.

    The Minister has also reiterated Greece's unwavering support for Cyprus now and in the future.

    Speaking on arrival, Arsenis ''the Cyprus problem will be resolved, Turkish occupation troops shall withdraw from Cyprus, and Cyprus, vindicated, will live as a unified, independent state within the European Union.''

    ''The implementation of the joint defence pact, which proceeds at a quick pace and which has changed the defence balance in the region, cannot be in a vacuum,'' he said.

    ''People must know why we are fighting and what we are fighting for,'' he added and explained that Greek civilisation and Hellenism must be defended against Turkish expansionism.

    The Minister, now on his way to visit the graves and families of two Greek Cypriots killed by Turks during last month's anti-occupation protests in the buffer zone, said their sacrifices will not have been in vain.

    The sacrifices of Tasos Isaac and Solomos Solomou are bright examples of heroes who have died to help bring justice and true independence to Cyprus, he said.

    Expressing pleasure for being here, Arsenis said his visit underlined ''the priority Greece gives to a Cyprus solution today and tomorrow after the elections (in Greece).''

    Arsenis and President Glafcos Clerides will welcome later today the Greek navy landing craft ''Samos'' which arrives in Limassol as part of a cultural programme among Thrace, the Aegean and Cyprus.

    ''The trip, which started on 18 August, emphasises the unbreakable and historical bonds between Thrace, the Aegean and Cyprus,'' Arsenis said.

    The joint defence pact, agreed between Greece and Cyprus in November 1993, is reflected in the close cultural ties between the two countries.

    The pact provides for air, land and sea cover from the Greek armed forces for Cyprus in the event of a renewed Turkish offensive against this east Mediterranean island.

    CNA MM/KN/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1500:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] Arsenis pays tribute to murdered Greek Cypriots

    Paralimni, Sep 1 (CNA) -- Greek Defence Minister Gerasimos Arsenis has reiterated his conviction that Cyprus will be freed of the Turkish occupation army and live as an independent and unified state, within the European Union.

    Greece, the Minister said, will stand firmly by Cyprus in its efforts to achieve this objective, efforts backed by a joint Greco-Cypriot defence pact providing the diplomatic framework for negotiations.

    Arsenis, who arrived in Cyprus earlier today, made these statements in this eastern town where he paid tribute to two Greek Cypriots, murdered brutally by Turkish occupation forces while protesting unarmed in the UN buffer zone.

    ''I feel that I have a national as well as a personal duty to visit this town which gave birth to the two heroes, Tasos Isaac and Solomos Solomou, and pay tribute to them,'' Arsenis said at the Town Hall.

    The brutal murder of the two heroes has reminded the world at large that Cyprus remains divided at a time when notions of divided countries have no place in the world, he said.

    ''Their sacrifice shall not be in vain and Cyprus' struggle for freedom will bear fruit. One day the Turkish occupation troops shall leave Cyprus and Cyprus will regain its integrity and be a unified state once more, free and independent,'' he added.

    Arsenis said the military balance in the region has changed since a joint Greco-Cypriot defence pact, which provides air, sea and land cover for Cyprus from the Greek military in the event of a fresh Turkish offensive against Cyprus, has come into effect.

    ''We try through the implementation of the defence pact to defend Hellenism against Turkish expansionism and create a substantial framework for diplomatic negotiations for a peaceful but also a just settlement in Cyprus within the European Union,'' Arsenis underlined.

    Progress towards this goal, he added, has caused concern to ''those who serve the dark forces of division among people and try in every way to show that Greek and Turkish Cypriots cannot live under the same roof in a unified state.''

    Welcoming the Greek Minister, Vlitis thanked him for the expression of support to the people of Cyprus and added ''we see in you the personification of the joint defence pact, which means hope and national security for us.''

    Vlitis said Isaac's and Solomou's sacrifice proved that people in Cyprus will continue fighting for freedom and justice until the final vindication.

    Arsenis, accompanied by his wife, Cyprus' Defence Minister Costas Eliades and the commander of the National Guard Nicolaos Vorvolakos, laid wreaths at the graves of the two local heroes.

    The Minister and his entourage were warmly greeted by the people of Paralimni who applauded as his motorcade went past.

    Later on Arsenis paid a brief visit to the bereaved families to pay his respects to Isaac's widow and Solomou's parents, who were visibly moved by his visit.

    He spent about fifteen minutes with each family and reassured them that Isaac's and Solomou's sacrifice will not have been in vain.

    Later on Arsenis visited an army observation post in Dherynia, which borders the UN buffer zone, near the spot where both men were brutally murdered by Turkish thugs.

    CNA MM/KN/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    2030:CYPPRESS:04

    [04] Arsenis spells out future role for Greece

    Limassol Sep 1 (CNA) -- Hellenism is in a position to face any threat, no matter where this comes from, Greek Defence Minister Gerasimos Arsenis said here today.

    He also stressed that a joint Greco-Cypriot defence pact is here to stay because Cyprus and Greece share a common future and both countries are moving together to meet the challenges of the next century, when Greece aspires to play a leading role in the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean.

    Arsenis was speaking at a ceremony in Limassol port where he and President Glafcos Clerides welcomed the Greek navy landing craft ''Samos'', which docked here in the last stop of its two-week cultural journey from Thrace, through the eastern Aegean and Cyprus.

    ''The military balance in the region has been transformed and Hellensim is in a position to face any threat, irrespective of origin,'' he said.

    He also noted that the defence dogma ''applies today and shall apply in the future as well because it underlines our determination to carry on united.''

    Arsenis called on Hellenism to exploit the available opportunities to allow Hellenism play its historic role in the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean as a cultural power, and a power that would undertake economic initiatives for the peaceful coexistence of the people of the region and a centre promoting the consolidation of democratic values.

    ''United we embark on a count-down to the start of the next century which we shall face in the vanguard of the new era that dawns,'' Arsenis said.

    This vision, he pointed out, must be backed by projects, will, action and defence capability.

    ''Our defences do not rely on military might alone, they rely on the will of Hellenism to defend its values: freedom, democracy, respect for human rights and human life,'' the Minister stressed.

    ''The joint defence dogma is not merely a military notion, it is also a cultural notion which links the people of Thrace, the Aegean and Cyprus. We share a common future and we march together towards the dawn of the 21st century, '' he said.

    On a more personal note, Arsenis said he would cherish this day as a very special day in his life and told Limassol Mayor Antonis Hadjipavlou to count on him whenever he needs to call on the citizens of the city.

    The Mayor described the arrival of the Greek vessel as a ''symbolic gesture which strengthens the bonds between Greece and Cyprus.''

    ''Our hope is that the journey of this vessel shall not end here. We hope it will continue and reach the Turkish occupied ports of Kyrenia and Famagusta, we hope it carries on until justice is done in Cyprus,'' the Mayor said.

    Addressing Arsenis, Hadjipavlou said his presence here was ''very important in that it gives courage to the people of Cyprus and reaffirms our will to carry on our search for a just and lasting settlement of the Cyprus problem.''

    ''You have put your personal seal on the joint Greco-Cypriot defence pact, agreed by President Clerides and the late Greek Premier Andreas Papandreou in November 1993, and we feel it is our duty to honour you,'' the Mayor said as he handed the Greek Minister the gold key of the city, making him an honorary citizen of this southern coastal town.

    After the ceremony, the President, Arsenis and their entourage, including Greece's ambassador to Cyprus Alexandros Sandis and Cypriot Ministers, went on a guided tour aboard ''Samos''.

    Present at today's ceremony in Limassol port were the Primate of the Church of Cyprus Archbishop Chrysostomos, Cyprus' Defence Minister Costas Eliades, the commander of the National Guard Nicolaos Vorvolakos and House President Spyros Kyprianou.

    CNA MM/KN/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    2225:CYPPRESS:05

    [05] Defence pact stays put, says President

    Limassol Sep 1 (CNA) -- A joint defence pact, agreed three years ago between Greece and Cyprus, does not end here today, President Glafcos Clerides has stressed and noted also that its implementation is proceeding with ''a very fast pace.''

    ''As long as there is a need to defend ourselves, we shall adjust our weapons acquisition programme to meet this need,'' the President said at Limassol port where he and Greece's Defence Minister Gerasimos Arsenis welcomed to Cyprus the Greek navy landing craft ''Samos'', on a symbolic journey from Thrace to the Aegean and Cyprus.

    ''The implementation of the defence pact is moving ahead in a very speedy manner and it will be completed within the agreed timetable,'' Clerides added.

    ''I would like to stress that the defence pact never ends,'' the President said.

    The President described the arrival of ''Samos'' as an expression of the cultural bonds that bind all Greeks and especially Greeks living in the Aegean.

    ''I am deeply moved and I feel proud to see this vessel docked here,'' he told the press after the welcoming ceremony during which Arsenis was made an honorary citizen of this southern coastal town.

    Asked to comment on possible financial obstacles defence expenditure might meet in the future because Greece may not attain the Maastricht criteria, the President replied ''this is not a matter for discussion at present. Greece is a European Union member.''

    He also pointed out that Cyprus will maintain the Maastricht criteria it has reached and added ''if need be, we shall take the necessary measures in order to avoid any reduction in our weapons acquisition programme.''

    In his remarks, Arsenis stressed that defence expenditure is at the top of the list of priorities in Greece.

    ''The defence of our national independence comes first,'' Arsenis said and explained that expenditure would be readjusted, if necessary, to meet the defence programme one way or another.

    ''Take this for granted,'' he added.

    The Greek Minister will call on President Clerides Monday morning and give a press conference before leaving at lunchtime.

    CNA MM/KN/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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