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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-08-24

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Spokesman - Missiles
  • [02] Overseas Cypriots - Meeting
  • [03] Pangalos - Cyprus

  • 1515:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Spokesman - Missiles

    Nicosia, Aug 24 (CNA) -- Possible cancellation of government plans to take delivery of the Russian S300 anti-aircraft missiles would create problems in defence matters, Government Spokesman Christos Stylianides said here today.

    He was responding to a statement by local politicians that President Glafcos Clerides should resign if the surface-to-air missiles do not arrive in Cyprus.

    "We believe that cancelling the order for the missiles will indeed create wider problems in our defence planning," Stylianides said, and avoided to elaborate stressing defence issues are not a matter for public discussion.

    Asked if the President will resign, if the missiles are not delivered, the spokesman explained that neither he nor the President wished to comment on that, noting that Clerides has taken note of the statements.

    Replying to questions, the spokesman said the island's political leadership is ready to take the best decisions and handle this matter in the best possible manner.

    "This is a crucial period and we believe that a wider possible consensus would help the governments of Cyprus and Greece," he added.

    He said the sovereign right of the Republic of Cyprus to boost its defence capabilities is not in conflict with any of its strategic goals.

    Asked if the governments of Greece and Cyprus are considering the possibility of postponing the deployment of the missiles, Stylianides expressed regret that the overall impression about this week's meeting in Athens between the two governments is that it will deal exclusively with the S300 and that it will decide their future.

    The Cyprus question, Cyprus' accession course to the European Union and a joint defence pact agreed in 1993 between the two countries providing for land, sea and air cover for Cyprus in the event of a fresh Turkish offensive against the island will be discussed at the Athens meeting.

    CNA EC/MM/MA/1998

    [02] Overseas Cypriots - Meeting

    Nicosia, Aug 24 (CNA) -- A meeting of Cypriots living abroad got underway today in Nicosia, amid calls from their leadership for an end to discussions about the government decision to purchase the S300 surface-to- air missile system.

    The leaders of Cypriot organisations abroad backed the government's right to purchase arms and underlined that the S300 issue is not part of the substance of the Cyprus problem.

    Around 40 representatives of the Committee Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA) and the World Federation of Overseas Cypriots (POMAK) from Britain, the US, Australia, Greece, Africa and Canada gathered here for the four-day meeting, held behind closed doors.

    The meeting began with a briefing by Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides on the latest developments in the Cyprus problem.

    President Glafcos Clerides will also brief delegates at a meeting later today.

    Government officials will inform participants on other issues such as the living conditions of some 500 Greek Cypriots who have remained in the Turkish occupied part of the Republic.

    The overseas Cypriots will meet House of Representatives President Spyros Kyprianou, Primate of the Church Archbishop Chrysostomos and all political party leaders.

    They will also discuss issues relating to problems faced by overseas Greeks, especially the second and third generation, and cultural exchanges with Cyprus.

    In statements to the press President of the Council of Overseas Hellenes Andrew Athens, who is based in the US, said he recently met US President Bill Clinton who assured him of a new American initiative to back efforts for a Cyprus settlement.

    PSEKA President Philip Christopher, who also lives in the US, said efforts must be made so that the Congress and the Senate realise that the S300 have noting to do with the Cyprus issue.

    "They must understand that the Cyprus government has the right to purchase the missiles and we will support this right," he added.

    Christopher also expressed concern with increasing cooperation between Israel and Turkey, noting the close ties the Greek and Jewish lobbies have had until today.

    POMAK President Haris Sophoclides said the Cyprus government and Greeks living abroad should make it clear to the international public opinion that efforts to settle the Cyprus problem and the S300 issue are not connected.

    CNA MA/MM/1998

    [03] Pangalos - Cyprus

    Athens Aug 24 (CNA) -- Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos has made it clear that Athens has a purely consultative role, if and when asked, as far as the purchase of anti-aircraft Russian missiles by the government of Cyprus are concerned.

    Pangalos backed in no uncertain terms the right of any country to buy weapons systems and said cooperation between Athens and Nicosia in defence matters does allow the sovereign government of the Republic of Cyprus to make its own decisions.

    The Greek FM also said it was up to the US to request Turkey to withdraw its military forces from Cyprus, which occupy the island's northern part since 1974 when they invaded.

    "The Greek side intervenes in a consultative manner, whenever asked, and the issue of the Russian missiles is a matter for the Republic of Cyprus alone," Pangalos told the press here today.

    He said every country has the right "to obtain its own weapons without interventions or restrictions from critical remarks of third parties."

    The substance of the Cyprus question, he pointed out, is the resumption of the intercommunal dialogue as soon as possible, which stalled when the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash refused to talk unless Cyprus withdraws its application for accession to the European Union or talks take place on an inter-state basis.

    Referring to the Russian missiles in relation to a Greco-Turkish defence pact, Pangalos clarified that the joint defence dogma does not imply joint decisions for "every move the government of Cyprus makes."

    The pact, agreed by the two governments in November 1993, provided for sea, air and land cover from Greece to Cyprus in the event of a new Turkish attack.

    Pointing out that there is cooperation between the two governments, Pangalos explained they cooperate and brief each other about their decisions accordingly.

    "It is up to the government of Cyprus to take a specific decision if it wishes to do so (on the issue of the missiles), we shall not take such a decision jointly, we will merely outline our opinion," Pangalos said.

    He did, however, add that the issue will be discussed at Thursday's meeting in Athens between Greek Premier Costas Simitis and Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides.

    "We back President Glafcos Clerides' position that the Russian missiles were purchased in an effort to restore a better balance with a view to reducing armaments," the Greek FM remarked.

    The decision to deploy the S300 missiles in Cyprus has drawn criticism from the US and others who claim their arrival here would increase tension in the region.

    The Cyprus government has said the missiles will be deployed unless there is substantial progress in the peace effort for a comprehensive solution or steps are taken towards the demilitarisation of Cyprus.

    Pangalos referred to his proposal to establish a no-fly zone over the island, a move which the US now considers as "interesting," having initially rejected the idea.

    The US is trying very hard to get an agreement for a moratorium of military flights over Cyprus.

    Ankara has already rejected a moratorium, while the government of Cyprus has said it would accept the creation of a no-fly zone over the island with international guarantees.

    Commenting on the increase of Turkey's military presence in the Turkish occupied part of Cyprus, Pangalos said "Turkey uses American weapons illegally" and added "it is a matter of political will for the US to tell Ankara to withdraw its arms from Cyprus."

    CNA KI/MM/MA/1998

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