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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-03-25

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Cyprus celebrates Greek Independence Day
  • [02] Greek FM slams Turkish military superiority in Cyprus

  • 1350:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Cyprus celebrates Greek Independence Day

    Nicosia, Mar 25 (CNA) -- Greek Cypriots today joined in celebrations commemorating Greek Independence Day, March 25.

    This morning a church service was held in Nicosia conducted by the primate of the Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus, Archbishop Chrysostomos.

    President Glafcos Clerides, House President Spyros Kyprianou, Greek Ambassador Kyriacos Rodousakis, ministers, party leaders and military and police chiefs attended the church service.

    March 25 marks the uprising of 1821 for independence from about 400 years of Ottoman rule and celebrated by Greeks all over the world.

    In a speech, Ambassador Rodousakis assured the Cypriot people of Greece's support and solidarity.

    He said Greece would continue to support Cyprus' entry into the European Union, a development which will act as a catalyst for the solution of the protracted Cyprus problem.

    The church service was followed by a parade in downtown Nicosia. Taking part were pupils, students, war veterans and various organisations.

    President Clerides flanked by Archbishop Chrysostomos and the Greek Ambassador took the salute outside the Greek Embassy.

    In statements after the parade, President Clerides and Archbishop Chrysostomos praised the struggle of the Greek nation against the Ottoman rule, saying the Cypriot people draw strength to carry on the struggle against the Turkish troops occupying the island's northern third for 24 years now.

    Ministers took the salute of similar parades held in other towns in the free areas of the Republic.

    President Clerides and Archbishop Chrysostomos sent congratulatory messages to Greece's President and Prime Minister, Constantinos Stephanopoulos and Costas Simitis, thanking Greece for its unwavering support to the struggle of the Cypriot people for justice.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

    In a televised message to the Cyprus people last night, Ambassador Rodousakis stressed that Greece and Cyprus would continue their efforts to strengthen the island's defences against Turkish aggressiveness.

    CNA GP/1998

    [02] Greek FM slams Turkish military superiority in Cyprus

    Washington, Mar 25 (CNA) --Turkey has overwhelming military superiority on Cyprus where it keeps illegal forces in spite of UN resolutions demanding their withdrawal, Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos has said.

    In a speech here yesterday at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Pangalos spoke on Greece's role in Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia.

    The Minister stressed the military superiority Turkey maintains in Cyprus since 1974, when it invaded and occupied the island's northern third, and critisised the international community for not doing anything about it.

    "Turkey has overwhelming military superiority on Cyprus where it keeps illegal forces in spite of UN resolutions demanding their withdrawal and the US does not do anything about it," he said, noting that "others like Serbia and Iraq must abide by UN resolutions, but not Turkey."

    Giving the figures of Turkish military superiority in Cyprus, Pangalos said the occupation troops number 60,000 (45,000 from Turkey and 15,000 Turkish Cypriot soldiers), hundreds of tanks, heavy artillery and other military equipment.

    He said that Turkey presents a ratio of more than 2:1 in personnel, more than 3:1 in artillery and more than 4:1 in armor.

    "Moreover, Turkey has a monopoly in the air, it has total superiority, since Cyprus does not have an airforce," he noted.

    Pangalos cited statements by Turkish officials that their modern warplanes are only 5 minutes from Nicosia, noting "there are 150-180 such aircraft, so Turkey thinks it can do whatever it wants."

    He explained that the Cyprus government's decision to purchase the S- 300 Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles was a move to bolster its defences.

    "What the Cyprus government is really trying to do is to bring about less inequality through the procurement of anti-aircraft missiles," he said.

    The Greek Foreign Minister said Cyprus is buying the Russian missiles because the US and the West deny it such weapons.

    "I am sure the Cyprus government would consider buying US Patriot missiles if they were not denied to them, even if they were more expensive, " he said.

    Invited to further clarify his proposal for a no-fly zone over Cyprus and its prospects of success, Pangalos admitted he had made such a proposal.

    "I believe there has been a very unjustified reaction by Turkey and some others on the procurement of the anti-aircraft missiles. Of course, nobody expresses any concern about Turkey's procurement of all kinds of armaments and upgrading of its occupation forces in Cyprus," he added.

    "I proposed a UN decision for a no-fly zone because it will be binding on the two parties and there will be independent monitoring, guaranties and accountability. It will be more effective," he said.

    Concluding, Pangalos noted there would be no need for a no-fly zone and the deployment of the S-300s on the island, if there were no aircraft and said "this of course is only a first pragmatic step towards the demilitarisation of Cyprus."

    The Cyprus government has repeatedly stressed the missiles would not be deployed on the island if an agreement for the island's complete demilitarisation were reached.

    The missiles are scheduled to arrive in Cyprus in the second half of this year.

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

    CNA DA/AP/GG/1998

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