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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 97-01-15

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] ''Full support'' to UN package to ease tension
  • [02] Cyprus-Greece stick to joint policy
  • [03] Cyprus Stock Exchange
  • [04] Government reveals cost of missiles
  • [05] 1997 crucial for Cyprus, says FM

  • 1100:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] ''Full support'' to UN package to ease tension

    Nicosia, Jan 15 (CNA) -- US State Department Spokesman Nicholas Burns reaffirmed yesterday that ''full support'' was given by Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, to a UN package of measures aimed at easing heightened tensions on the island which have provoked international concern in the past few weeks.

    Following President Clerides' statement that no agreement had been reached on the UN package, Burns clarified ''full support'' did not intimate ''that they've signed on the dotted line,'' but rather ''full support to negotiate these things very seriously and to look towards a solution to prevent the kind of thing that we've seen - two people dead in the last six months because of problems on the cease-fire lines.''

    In fact, three people have lost their lives along the cease-fire line in the past six months through beatings and shootings by Turkish occupation troops, Turkish and Turkish Cypriot extremists. Burns said he confirmed with Director of Southern European Affairs at the US State Department, Carey Cavanaugh, and the US European Bureau, that Cavanaugh did indeed receive assurances of full support for the tension-easing measures.

    ''We understand that representatives of the United Nations Forces in Cyprus will be discussing these particular issues with the Cypriot government and the Turkish Cypriot leadership at the end of this week. That's a positive step forward,'' Burns noted.

    Burns stated that President Clerides' assurances to Cavanaugh that none of the components for a highly advanced Russian missile air defence system would be delivered to Cyprus before the passing of 16 months, provides some breathing space to help ease a particularly tense period on the island, following the furor raised by the Cypriot government's announcement of its plans to acquire the Russian missiles.

    ''It provides the Turks, the Turkish Cypriots, the Greeks and the Cypriot government breathing space to resolve that problem amicably and cooperatively,'' Burns added.

    The State Department Spokesman dismissed suggestions coming from Turkey that what the US sees as a 16-month assurance from President Clerides on the missiles, is an inevitable waiting period.

    Burns gave credit to the Cypriot government by pointing out that there are ''other avenues'' the Cypriot government could have taken to speed up the deployment of the air defence missile system.

    He said the Cypriot government ''did not have to wait 16 months if it really believed it was necessary to deploy it earlier. So, we take issue with that and say that this is a significant step forward by the Cypriot government.''

    Moreover, Burns stressed that the US will not add fuel to any of the rhetorical fires still burning in the region. He characterised Cavanaugh's visit to Cyprus as a good one and went on to say that the US government thinks it's time for the governments of Greece, Turkey and Cyprus, as well as the two communities on the island, ''to step back, exercise restraint in what they say and what they do, and try to resolve these problems amicably.''

    When told of criticism coming from the Turkish Foreign Ministry regarding the tone of his previous statements against Turkish officials, the State Department Spokesman said he regretted to hear that, but stood by his statements pointing out that he would like to ''put accent on trying to move forward.

    ''Now that President Clerides has given all of us space to move forward, let's see restraint on all sides and let's see progress on Cyprus,'' Burns said.

    On Cavanaugh's visit to Greece, Burns said Cavanaugh reviewed what has and must be done to reduce tension on Cyprus and build support for a settlement to the Cyprus problem.

    He added among these steps is the possible moratorium of flights by Greek and Turkish military aircraft over the island which has also been a source of polemical rhetoric by Turkey. Burns indicated that this issue is still under discussion.

    The Spokesman referred to Cavanaugh's meeting with Dutch Foreign Minister, Hans Van De Mierlo, who was in Athens in his country's capacity as European Union president.

    Burns said the two men discussed coordinating steps between the US and the EU on Cyprus.

    CNA DA/MH/GP/1997

    [02] Cyprus-Greece stick to joint policy

    Nicosia, Jan 15 (CNA) -- Cyprus and Greece have reaffirmed their common adherence to a joint policy on defence issues, Cyprus Defence Minister Costas Eliades said here today after two-days of talks in Athens.

    Speaking to Cyprus Radio, Eliades said ''the Greco-Cypriot defence pact proceeds as planned and provides an answer to Turkish threats and strengthens our negotiating position.''

    The government, he explained, did not cause any tension but on the contrary it is ready to contribute to efforts to reduce tension and begin negotiations for a settlement.

    The government's decision to buy the Russian-made S-300 surface-to-air missiles has sparked a barrage of statements from various quarters, including the US, Britain, Russia and the European Union, and threats from Turkey for a pre-emptive strike against Cyprus.

    Referring to ongoing UN-sponsored military talks between the National Guard and the Turkish occupation troops, Eliades said ''this is continuing but no details are disclosed.''

    The dialogue, he added, is not linked in any way to the arms deal with Russia.

    In his assessment of the Athens talks, Cyprus House Defence Committee president, MP Takis Hadjidemetriou, pointed out that Cyprus will not take any military action if Turkey does not launch a fresh offensive against the island.

    ''The consolidation of the Turkish occupation of part of the island will be met with political and diplomatic means and this is the path the government follows,'' he said.

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

    CNA MM/GP/1997

    [03] Cyprus Stock Exchange

    Nicosia, Jan 15 (CNA) -- The Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) All Share Index closed at today's stock exchange meeting as follows:
    CSE All Share Index                    80.24 (-0.19)
    Sectural Indices
    Banks                                  89.65 (-0.28)
    Approved Investment Companies          72.32 (-0.04)
    Insurance Companies                    56.66 (+0.51)
    Industrial Companies                   80.27 (+0.53)
    Tourist Industries                     69.92 (+0.07)
    Commercial Companies                   60.51 (-0.31)
    Other Companies                        64.69 (-2.28)
    Trading Volume                         CYP 451021.740
    * The difference in brackets represents the percentage increase (+) or decrease (-) of the index from the previous stock exchange meeting.
    CNA GP/1997

    [04] Government reveals cost of missiles

    Nicosia, Jan 15 (CNA) -- The Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles Cyprus will acquire will cost an estimated 200 million Cyprus pounds (one pound is about two US dollars), Government Spokesman Yiannakis Cassoulides disclosed here today.

    Speaking to the press, Cassoulides said the decision for the arms deal was taken in full knowledge that, for technical reasons, the weapons would not be deployed in Cyprus for at least 16 months.

    ''We can devote the time between now and the deployment of the missiles to push forward a political settlement of the Cyprus question,'' Cassoulides said.

    Replying to questions, the Spokesman said the purchase agreement does not include a clause on the possibility of non-delivery of the missiles, in case of sufficient progress towards a solution.

    Asked what will happen if sufficient progress on a Cyprus settlement is achieved, a development that would not warrant the deployment of the missiles, Cassoulides said in such a case, Cyprus would have spent 200 million pounds.

    A solution to the protracted Cyprus problem would be well worth this money, he added.

    Cassoulides reiterated that President Glafcos Clerides had requested the Russian company to speed up the process of delivery but the manufacturing companies informed him delivery could not take place before 16 months had elapsed.

    The S-300 anti-aircraft missile system will become operational after 16 months, he added.

    CNA MM/MA/1997

    [05] 1997 crucial for Cyprus, says FM

    Nicosia, Jan 15 (CNA) -- Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides considers 1997 a crucial year for Cyprus in that it will see a more active US engagement in efforts to settle the Cyprus problem and the final stage prior to accession negotiations with the European Union.

    He also pointed out that Turkey's reaction to the government's arms deal with Russia (for the purchase of anti-aircraft missiles) aims at hampering efforts for a solution.

    Addressing a two-day seminar on ''Hellenism, Turkey, Europe'', Michaelides said ''one may say the period ahead is decisive for the future of Cyprus in that we expect to see the US launch an initiative on Cyprus in March and accession negotiations begin.''

    The Minister welcomed international interest in Cyprus and underlined that all efforts towards a settlement must be ''intensive and coordinated to be effective.''

    He said today everyone recognises the need to prepare the ground before direct negotiations begin between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides and acknowledge the necessity to have a multi-national force stationed in Cyprus, under a mandate from the UN Security Council, for effective and immediate action.

    Commenting on recent developments, Michaelides noted that Turkey and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash embarked on a barrage provocative action, threats and blackmail.

    ''We believe that Turkey's moves aim at discouraging and or preventing increasing international interest to promote a solution in Cyprus,'' he added.

    Turkey has threatened a pre-emptive strike against Cyprus if anti- aircraft missiles are deployed on the island. The government's decision to buy the Russian-made S-300 surface-to-air missiles has sparked a variety of comments from different countries, calling for restraint and calm.

    The US has warned Turkey that any strike against Cyprus, because of the arms deal, is totally unwarranted and unacceptable.

    ''We would like to remind those who worry about our defence programmes that President Glafcos Clerides' proposal for the demilitarisation of Cyprus is still on the cards,'' he concluded.

    CNA MM/MA/1997
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