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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-05-31

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>


CONTENTS

  • [01] Missiles report - Government view
  • [02] Kyprianou sees difficulties in no-fly zone

  • 1425:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Missiles report - Government view

    Nicosia, May 31 (CNA) -- The "Sunday Times" reported today that Britain is planning the biggest airlift since the World War II because of fears over war in Cyprus.

    However, the government of the Republic of Cyprus has said it is handling the situation in a responsible manner to avert any unpleasant developments.

    The report quotes a source from Britain's Ministry of Defence as saying this airlift would be "bigger than the Berlin airlift" and notes that contingency plans are being made for "a worst-case scenario."

    A spokeswoman for the MoD told CNA today that preparing contingency plans "does not mean that we do assume there will be war in July or indeed any other time".

    "In fact, most of these plans do not materialise", she said, adding that "obviously someone tried to sensationalise the whole thing".

    The spokeswoman said the MoD "naturally follows developments in all trouble spots in the world" and explained that the job of the permanent joint force headquarters, referred to in the report, "is to prepare contingency plans for any possible event".

    Meanwhile in Cyprus earlier this week, Government Spokesman Christos Stylianides said "the government does not consider we are going through a period when unpleasant developments could take place for the people of Cyprus".

    The government, Stylianides said, "wishes to convey to the people of Cyprus the message that it is handling the situation in a responsible manner to avert anything".

    The "Sunday Times" report said plans provide for the evacuation of a quarter of a million people with the help of RAF planes, supported by the Royal Navy and a brigade of soldiers.

    Turkey, it adds, has warned that war will start in Cyprus if the government of the Republic takes delivery of several batteries of S300 "Growler" anti-aircraft missiles from Russia.

    Meanwhile, press reports in Cyprus have suggested that the missiles are not due to arrive in Cyprus until the Autumn.

    In a separate development, the island's top selling daily "O Phileleftheros" said in an article today that Nicosia and Athens appear ready to discuss the possibility of having the Russian missiles arrive in Cyprus but not actually deploy them in exchange for a UN decision declaring Cyprus' air space as a no-fly zone.

    Such a move, the paper notes, would effectively mean storing the anti- aircraft missiles system in what could be described as a good will gesture to facilitate efforts by foreign envoys trying to find a way out of the current impasse.

    Meanwhile Foreign Minister, Ioannis Kasoulides, said yesterday on his return from talks in Athens that the missiles will arrive in Cyprus unless the reasons that forced the government to order them are eliminated.

    "The people of Cyprus are facing a problem of security from the Turkish air force", he explained.

    The government has repeatedly said the missile system is a purely defensive weapon and will not be used unless Turkey launches a fresh offensive against the country.

    Some 35,000 Turkish troops occupy the island's northern third since they invaded in 1974.

    CNA MM/RG/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1445:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] Kyprianou sees difficulties in no-fly zone

    Larnaca, May 31 (CNA) -- The President of the House of Representatives, Spyros Kyprianou, does not think that a no-fly zone could be implemented in Cyprus, just as it is in northern Iraq.

    Speaking on his way to Italy to attend a meeting of Speakers of Mediterranean Parliaments, Kyprianou said "there is a difference between the two."

    "In the case of Iraq, if there is a violation, I see no difficulty on the part of the US or anybody else to intercept and if the need arises to bomb Iraq", he said.

    "I do not see anything of the sort happening in the case of Cyprus", he added.

    Kyprianou reiterated his view that the Russian anti-aircraft missiles will come unless there is an agreement for the demilitarisation of Cyprus or substantial progress towards a solution.

    The government is due to take delivery of the missiles sometime in the Autumn, according to reports, but stresses these are a purely defensive weapon and would not be used unless Turkey attacks.

    Turkey has said it would prevent the deployment of the missiles and threatened with pre-emptive strikes against Cyprus.

    "Cyprus can do nothing else but bring in the missiles as long as Turkey continues to occupy one third of the country and it threatens Cyprus", Kyprianou said.

    Replying to questions, the House President said that if there was a guarantee by some powerful players to implement a no-fly agreement, then discussions on such a proposal could take place.

    CNA MAN/MM/RG/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    CNA ENDS
    Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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