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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-05-23

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Cypriot FM returns from four-nation tour

  • 1840:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Cypriot FM returns from four-nation tour

    Larnaca, May 23 (CNA) -- Cyprus Foreign Minister, Ioannis Kasoulides, stressed today that any concern on behalf of the international community, regarding the deployment of the S-300 anti-aircraft missiles in Cyprus, should be accompanied by concern over the presence of Turkish troops in Cyprus and the insecurity the people of Cyprus feel, due to Turkey's aggressiveness.

    The minister was speaking at Larnaca International Airport, on his return from a four-nation tour that took him to France, Argentina, Colombia and the United States.

    Kasoulides said that the missiles would be deployed, unless the reasons they had been ordered for cease to exist.

    The Cyprus government agreed in January 1997 with Russian manufacturers to buy the S-300 surface-to-air missiles, expected to be deployed later this year, in a bid to bolster its defences.

    Turkish troops have been occupying 37 per cent of Cyprus territory since 1974, in violation of repeated UN resolutions calling for their withdrawal.

    The Cypriot minister said that during his contacts in Washington, there was an intense concern over the deployment of the Russian-made anti- aircraft missiles.

    However, he stressed that "any concern on this matter should be accompanied by concern over the presence of 35 thousand Turkish troops in Cyprus and the feeling of insecurity among the people of Cyprus, due to Turkey's aggressive stance and Ankara's perpetual threats."

    Responding to journalists' questions on the attempt by the United States to link the non-deployment of the missiles with the continuation of the superpower's efforts towards a settlement of the Cyprus problem, Kasoulides said "it is not enough to try. There must also be a response".

    Furthermore, he stressed that there is "reason" behind the missiles, that is "we felt the need" to adequately strengthen "our air defence, through this order" and that "only if the reasons for which we felt the need to deploy this missile system cease to exist, will change our mind".

    He pointed out that this is "our cornerstone position" and that the order was not put in "just like that", but because there was a "concrete reason".

    Kasoulides indicated that "if this reason ceases to exist, we will not deploy them. If it does not, then we will. Full stop".

    Regarding the substance of the Cyprus problem, Kasoulides said he had conveyed "a clear message" to Washington.

    He said the Cyprus government view is that the UN Security Council should tell, very soon, Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash that his efforts to secure recognition for his illegal entity or upgrade his status cannot be approved by the Security Council.

    Replying to questions Kasoulides said the Security Council would shortly issue a resolution and that the Secretary-General would submit a report on his good offices mission. "Sooner or later the Security Council should take a position on this report", he added.

    The minister said during his contacts in all countries he visited he had the opportunity to brief his interlocutors on the latest developments in the Cyprus problem and explain the Cyprus government's positions.

    In Paris, he held talks with his French counterpart while in Argentina he paid an official visit, thanking this country for its participation in the UN peace-keeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).

    In Colombia, he took part in a ministerial meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement, which reaffirmed its positions on Cyprus, while in Washington he had a series of meetings with US administration officials and key members of the Congress.

    CNA MAN/RG/GP/1998

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