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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-03-27

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] State Department urges Ankara to stop war threats
  • [02] US Congressmen demand end of Turkish occupation

  • 0830:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] State Department urges Ankara to stop war threats

    Washington, Mar 27 (CNA) -- State Department spokesman James Rubin yesterday reiterated US refusal to accept a proposal by Greek Foreign Minister, Theodoros Pangalos, to create a no-fly zone over Cyprus, guaranteed by the international community.

    At the same time, Rubin recognised the Cyprus Republic's right to make decisions about its defence and urged Turkey to stop threatening to tackle the deployment of defence missiles in Cyprus militarily.

    "With regard to the idea of a no-fly zone that Foreign Minister Pangalos raised in his meetings with Secretary Albright and Undersecretary Pickering, we certainly would welcome the establishment of a permanent moratorium of all combat aircraft overflights over Cyprus by Greece and Turkey," he said.

    The US diplomat pointed out such a move would constitute "a serious effort to reduce tensions and build confidence."

    "We do not agree, however, that a no-fly enforcement regime that could potentially pit one NATO ally against the other is the best way to accomplish this objective," he added.

    Rubin reiterated the US government's disagreement over a Cyprus government decision to deploy the Russian-made surface-to-air missile system S-300 later this year.

    "Although we don't question Cyprus' right to make decisions about its defense, we believe the S-300 missile deal increases the danger of conflict on the island and is a serious obstacle to our efforts to reach a settlement of the Cyprus dispute."

    The State Department spokesman said "we continue to urge the government of Cyprus to cancel the deal."

    "We have also urged Turkey to address the S-300 issue through diplomatic means and to refrain from threats to take the missiles out militarily," he concluded.

    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/MA/GP/1998

    [02] US Congressmen demand end of Turkish occupation

    Washington, Mar 27 (CNA) -- US Congressmen have called on Turkey to end the occupation of the northern part of Cyprus.

    The call came during a special order on Wednesday, March 25, the Independence Day of Greece.

    Referring to Cyprus, Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) said "we should also direct our attention to the island of Cyprus, which for 24 years now has been striving for an end to its tragic division, and the illegal Turkish occupation of 37 per cent" of its territory.

    "Again, Cyprus is on the verge of becoming a flash-point for regional conflict because of Turkey's opposition to European membership for Cyprus", Maloney added.

    The Democratic Congresswoman said "we must use Cyprus' European Union (EU) accession as an impetus for positive progress and not let Turkey use it as an excuse for heightened tensions."

    She said "a positive contribution by Turkey to help resolve the situation" would facilitate its own aspirations to become a EU member, adding that "we should use our influence in the region to help Turkey to understand this".

    Michael Bilirakis (R-FL) said "we must use our freedom to help others who share our passion for liberty and peace", adding that "our nation has always been willing to fight for freedom on behalf of others".

    He said "as Americans, as defenders of democracy, as righteous human beings, we must not and cannot remain idle while Cyprus remains divided", Bilirakis noted.

    Frank Pallone (D-NJ) pointed out to Turkey that a positive contribution "to both the peace process and the EU accession by Cyprus could be a start in helping Turkey undo some of the damage they have caused with their intransigent and aggressive policies".

    Ron Klink (R-PA) referred to the Berlin wall, saying "today, the divided city is Nicosia", adding "the Turks must again allow freedom to move forward, must allow Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to live together".

    Brad Sherman (D-CA) pointed out that "US Presidential envoy Richard Holbrooke should move forward toward peace and toward a withdrawal of Turkish troops from the island".

    "Unfortunately", he said, "the Turkish government seems to want to hold Cyprus hostage for its own membership in the EU".

    Joseph Kennedy (D-MA) said "the US has a duty to lead the charge for a lasting, peaceful solution", adding that "we must insist on demilitarisation of the island and demand Turkey's full compliance with international law and the UN resolutions".

    Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) pointed out that although the Greek and Cypriot governments have shown a willingness to resolve the issues that undermine a stable peace in the region, "the Turkish government continues to dodge the critical questions at hand".

    Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) urged the US administration "to apply the same degree of commitment to finding a peaceful solution to the Cyprus crisis that it applied to the Bosnian crisis".

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

    CNA GG/GP/1998
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