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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 97-01-11

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] US slams Turkey over threats against Cyprus
  • [02] Ciller to visit Cyprus' Turkish-occupied part
  • [03] UN Chief urges for maximum restraint

  • 1115:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] US slams Turkey over threats against Cyprus

    Washington, Jan 11 (CNA) -- The US State Department slammed Turkish Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller and other Turkish officials for their latest threats against Cyprus, regarding the purchase of Russian surface-to-air missiles by the government.

    During his Friday briefing, State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns described Ciller's recent statements as unwise and irresponsible.

    Burns was referring to Ciller's yesterday threats, that Turkey would strike at the anti-aircraft missiles when they are deployed, and noted the these ''seem to up the ante from the tendentious statements made yesterday (Thursday) by the Turkish Defense Minister.''

    ''If Foreign Minister Ciller is being quoted accurately, we believe such dramatic statements from her or any other Turkish official are uncalled for and most unwise,'' he added.

    The US official reiterated his country's opposition to the arms deal and stressed ''any threat of the use of force, any decision to use force, is absolutely beyond bounds of acceptable international behaviour.''

    The spokesman said the US government made this view known directly to the Turkish government.

    ''All these public statements concern us (US) because they are inconsistent with the off-repeated Turkish statements and professions of interest in peace in the Eastern Mediterranean and of a negotiated peaceful settlement in Cyprus,'' he pointed out.

    The American official said the US believe that everyone in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turks, Greeks and the parties in Cyprus, ''should draw back from this type of aggressive public rhetoric, and sit down together, and through negotiations try to resolve the problems peacefully.''

    For this reason, he added, ''the US has sent Carey Cavanaugh, our envoy, to the region to ask that, that be the position of all the governments in the region.''

    Replying a CNA question, Burns praised the government of Cyprus for its responsible reaction to the Turkish threats.

    ''We have been encouraged by the responsible statements of the Cypriot government over the last 24 hours in reaction to these Turkish statements, '' he said.

    Asked to justify his statement, in view of Cyprus government decision to purchase Russian anti-aircraft missiles, Burns said.

    ''I can say it because our view is that the reaction of the Cypriot government to the unwise public threats of the Turkish Defense Minister and now the Foreign Ministry was quite measured and calm and attempted to pull itself form any kind of sense of crisis. That was responsible,'' he underlined.

    State Department Spokesman dismissed an attempt to ascribe the government of Cyprus with manufacturing the whole crisis.

    ''No, we don't believe that the Cypriot government is guilty of bad faith,'' he said categorically.

    Asked to comment on suggestions that the US complains about the arms deal because Cyprus did not purchase them from the US, he made clear that, ''because we believe in constructive behaviour in the Eastern Mediterranean, we would never have sought to allow one of our companies to sell this type of equipment to Cyprus.''

    Burns clarified this is ''not a question of commercial diplomacy, it's a question of responsible action by countries like the United States and Russia.''

    CNA DA/AP/1997

    [02] Ciller to visit Cyprus' Turkish-occupied part

    Nicosia, Jan 11 (CNA) -- Turkish Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller and Turkish army Chief of Staff, Ismail Hakki Karaday, are reported to have planned a visit to the occupied part of Cyprus next week.

    According to the Turkish Cypriot daily ''Ortam'', their visit to the island's occupied northern areas was announced by Ciller herself, in Ankara yesterday.

    Meanwhile, according to the Turkish daily ''Milliyet'', the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash will visit Ankara next week.

    The report refers to Karaday's visit to the Turkish occupied part of the island, but does not say if Ciller will also be visiting.

    It is believed that these visits are related to recent Turkish reactions and threats against Cyprus, after the government's decision to purchase the Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles S-300.

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

    CNA AP/MA/1997

    [03] UN Chief urges for maximum restraint

    Nicosia, Jan 11 (CNA) -- UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan expressed concern about rising tension in Cyprus and called on parties involved for maximum restraint.

    In a statement issued Friday, the UN chief reminded all sides that the UN Charter bans ''the threat or use of force in situations like this.''

    The UN Secretary-General's statement follows repeated Turkish threats to take action against Cyprus if the government of the Republic proceeds with the deployment of Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles S-300.

    Annan underlined the importance of ''carefully prepared face-to-face talks'' between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, to reach a solution to the protracted Cyprus problem.

    He also calls upon the parties involved ''to avoid risk of confrontation on the island and urges all parties to exercise maximum restraint'', the statement said.

    The UN Chief reiterated that the Security Council, on December 23, 1996, had expressed ''grave concern about the excessive levels of military forces and armaments in the Republic of Cyprus.''

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

    Meanwhile, the Director of the Office of Southern European Affairs at the US State Department, Carey Cavanaugh, is expected to arrive on the island tomorrow, in an bid to reduce tension.

    Cavanaugh met on Friday in the Hague with European Union (EU) foreign- affairs officials.

    The Netherlands is currently holding the EU six-month rotating presidency.

    The American diplomat is scheduled to meet President Clerides Monday morning and then fly off to Athens for meetings until Wednesday. From there he will go to Turkey where he will stay until next Friday.

    According to State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns, during his talks with officials in the region, Cavanaugh will try to advance ''concrete actions to reduce tension'' as well as ''overall military activities.''

    CNA AP/MA/1997

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