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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-12-30

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>


CONTENTS

  • [01] Cyprus - S300 - Defence
  • [02] Britain - Cyprus - Missiles
  • [03] Germany - Cyprus - Missiles
  • [04] President Clerides - Credentials
  • [05] Socialist Party - Proposal to leave government
  • [06] Archbishop Chrysostomos - Missiles

  • 1515:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Cyprus - S300 - Defence

    Nicosia, Dec 30 (CNA) -- The Cyprus government believes its decision not to deploy the S300 defence missile system on the island will back the Republic's European Union accession course and give the international community the means to tackle Turkish intransigence in efforts for a settlement here.

    Government Spokesman Christos Stylianides said today that even though the preconditions the government had set out in order not to deploy the Russian-made missiles had not been met to the full the decision was taken in view of today's international situation and to the benefit of Hellenism.

    Stylianides said that the deployment of the S300 in the Greek island of Crete would serve the joint defence pact agreed between Nicosia and Athens in 1993 and added that the agreement for their purchase would be discussed between the three interested parties (Cyprus, Greece, Russia).

    In a written statement issued Tuesday night, President Glafcos Clerides announced his decision not to deploy the S300 surface-to-air missiles in Cyprus and instead to negotiate with the Russian government their possible deployment in Crete.

    "The joint decision taken by the Cypriot and Greek governments not to deploy the missiles in Cyprus offers the opportunity for a smooth EU accession course," Stylianides said.

    He added the decision "also offers the international community the opportunity to decide to tackle Turkish provocations and intransigence in a substantive way, that would bring results."

    The government had ordered the S300 in 1997 in a bid to boost the Republic's air defence and had said it would reconsider its decision if there was substantive progress towards a Cyprus settlement or if talks for the reduction of tensions and armaments begin, leading to demilitarisation.

    Last week the UN Security Council approved two resolutions urging the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to pursue mediation efforts between the two communities and to secure a "staged process" of reduction of troops and armaments.

    US President Bill Clinton, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the EU issued statements backing the resolutions.

    The Cypriot Spokesman said yesterday's decision was taken by the governments of Greece and Cyprus "bearing in mind Hellenism's wider interests" and "in view of today's international situation".

    However, Stylianides acknowledged that "the preconditions which had been set have not been met to the extent that we were hoping for."

    Invited to comment on a statement issued yesterday by Russia, the Spokesman pointed out that Moscow only referred to the economic part of the contract for the S300 purchase.

    Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Vladimir Rakhmanin had said this was a "purely commercial contract" and expressed the hope that Cyprus would respect the contract.

    Stylianides said the deployment of the defence missiles in Crete serves defence plans drawn up within the framework of the joint defence pact between Cyprus and Greece.

    He said the agreement for the deployment of the missiles in Crete is being negotiated and will be discussed between Cyprus, Greece and Russia.

    The Spokesman dismissed statements made by Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem that the decision not to deploy the missile system was a result of pressure from Ankara.

    "The Greek and Cypriot governments take their decisions based on their strategic goals which is a viable settlement to the Cyprus question and the Republic's accession to the EU."

    Replying to questions, the Spokesman expressed the hope the socialist EDEK party will not leave the Clerides coalition government because of the President's decision not to deploy the S300.

    The party's Executive Bureau was meeting this afternoon to decide its future cooperation with the Clerides government. EDEK participates in the government with two ministers (Defence and Education).

    CNA MK/MA/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1530:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] Britain - Cyprus - Missiles

    Nicosia, Dec 30 (CNA) -- Britain welcomed the Cypriot President's decision not to deploy the S300 anti-aircraft missiles on Cyprus, underlining it helps create the conditions necessary for a settlement to the island's problem.

    In a written statement British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook says both he and the Prime Minister "warmly welcome" President Glafcos Clerides' decision, which is "a significant contribution to international efforts - in which Britain played a prominent part - to reduce tensions in the region."

    "It also helps create the conditions necessary for securing a just and lasting political settlement to the Cyprus problem," the statement adds.

    Cook reiterates a statement issued by Prime Minister Tony Blair, on 23 December, that "made clear we remain committed to supporting actively Kofi Annan's efforts to reduce tensions further and to work for a comprehensive political settlement."

    The British Foreign Secretary points out it is essential that both the UN Secretary General and his Resident Representative Dame Ann Hercus "are given the fullest possible cooperation from both sides (in Cyprus)."

    In a written statement issued Tuesday night President Clerides announced his decision not to deploy the Russian-made missiles and to negotiate with Moscow their possible deployment in the southern Greek island of Crete.

    His decision was fully backed by Greek Premier Costas Simitis and was also welcomed by the US and the European Union.

    The S300 missiles were ordered by the Cyprus government in January 1997 in a bid to boost the island's air defence in case of a new Turkish offensive against the island.

    Cyprus has been divided since Turkish troops invaded the island and occupied 37 per cent of its territory in 1974.

    CNA GG/MA/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1725:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] Germany - Cyprus - Missiles

    Nicosia, Dec 30 (CNA) -- Germany welcomed the decision by the Cyprus President not to deploy the S300 defence missile system on the island and said it would also welcome a reduction of the Turkish occupation troops on the island.

    Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Erdmann described President Glafcos Clerides' decision as "an important message for reducing the dangerously high level of arms in Cyprus."

    The federal government, he added, would also welcome a contribution by Turkey to the building of trust by reducing its military presence in Cyprus.

    Turkey maintains some 35-thousand heavily armed troops on the island since it invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory in 1974.

    The government had decided to purchase the Russian-made surface-to-air missile system in a bid to boost its air defence.

    In a written statement issued yesterday the President announced his decision not to deploy the S300 in Cyprus and to negotiate with Moscow their possible deployment in the southern Greek island of Crete.

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis fully backed President Clerides' decision.

    The German Ministry official reassured that the reduction of tension on the island remains one of Germany's goals and that his country will contribute to a just and lasting settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    Similar statements were made today by the US, Britain and the European Union.

    CNA MA/RM/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1730:CYPPRESS:04

    [04] President Clerides - Credentials

    Nicosia, Dec 30 (CNA) -- Cyprus will continue to work towards a solution of the Cyprus problem within the framework of the UN Secretary-General's good offices mission, President Glafcos Clerides assured today.

    Accepting the credentials of the new Ambassador of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to Cyprus, Paek Yong Ho, the President pointed out that the Cyprus problem remains unresolved despite the ongoing efforts on the part of the UN Secretary-General and interested governments.

    "We will continue, however, our efforts towards a peaceful reunification and eventual demilitarisation of our country," he added.

    President Clerides stressed that his government will continue to work towards a solution based on UN resolutions and two high level agreements reached between the two sides in 1977 and 1979 stipulating for a bizonal, bicomunal federation.

    Presenting his credentials, Ho said "the friendly relations between our two countries are developing positively."

    He also expressed support to the efforts of the people of Cyprus "to end the division and realize unification and demilitarization of Cyprus and to develop the economy and the productive forces".

    President Clerides also said that "relations between Cyprus and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea have always been based on sincere friendship and mutual understanding."

    He added that for many years both countries suffered from division and noted that "today relations between our two countries continue to be friendly and our co-operation continues to be developing both at the bilateral as well as the multilateral level."

    CNA RM/MA/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1900:CYPPRESS:05

    [05] Socialist Party - Proposal to leave government

    Nicosia, Dec 30 (CNA) -- Socialist party EDEK today took the initial decision to pull out of the government, after a decision by President Glafcos Clerides not to deploy the S300 Russian-made defence missile system in Cyprus.

    The decision was taken at a meeting of the Political Bureau and will be put before the Central Committee for approval on Saturday.

    Both EDEK ministers, Defence Minister Yiannakis Omirou and Education and Culture Minister Lykourgos Kappas, are expected to hand their resignations to the President if the Central Committee approves today's decision.

    "We consider the decision not to deploy the defence missile system in Cyprus as wrong and disagree with the arguments put forward," EDEK President Vassos Lyssarides told the press after his party's Political Bureau.

    He expressed the view that the President's decision, announced last night, "will have dire consequences for Cyprus and Hellenism as a whole."

    President Glafcos Clerides had said in a written statement that he would negotiate with the Russian government the possible deployment of the S300 missiles in the southern Greek island of Crete.

    The socialist leader said his party had decided to participate in the Clerides government based on a "proposal for unity and prospects" and said its main guideline was "the promotion of the Cyprus problem in the right direction".

    He said the President's decision makes Cyprus and Greece depend their policies on threats from Turkey and pressure from foreign governments and undermines the credibility of a joint defence pact agreed between Cyprus and Greece in 1993.

    Referring to two resolutions approved by the UN Security Council last week, the socialist leader said "they do not in the slightest satisfy the logical preconditions our side had set in order to cancel the deployment of the S300."

    The government had said it would reconsider its decision to deploy the missile system if there was substantive progress in negotiations for a settlement in Cyprus or talks for the reduction of arms, leading to demilitarisation, began.

    The UN resolutions urge the Secretary-General to pursue mediation efforts between the two communities and secure a "staged process" of reduction of troops and armaments.

    Lyssarides said the Political Bureau's proposal to the Central Committee will be to pull out of the government "for reasons of political credibility and sincerity."

    EDEK has been participating in the Clerides government since last February, when Clerides won re-election for a second five-year term.

    Omirou also said his party must pull out of the government for reasons of "credibility, sincerity and political ethos."

    Kappas said he would abide by EDEK decisions, despite the fact that he was not a party member.

    "I have no other choice as EDEK had proposed my appointment as Education and Culture Minister," Kappas added.

    CNA FZ/MA/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1905:CYPPRESS:06

    [06] Archbishop Chrysostomos - Missiles

    Nicosia, Dec 30 (CNA) -- Primate of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus Archbishop Chrysostomos believes President Glafcos Clerides' decision not to deploy the S300 missiles in Cyprus will not break the deadlock in the Cyprus peace process.

    Speaking during a visit to the Athalassa Hospital in Nicosia, Archbishop Chrysostomos called for unity and expressed the view that the President's decision will not lead to positive developments in the island's political problem.

    Replying to questions, he described the arguement that the S300 decision will accelerate Cyprus' European Union (EU) accession course as "a blackmail" aiming at averting the deployment of the missiles.

    He also noted that yesterday's decision should have been taken only if the international community was ready to guarantee the island's integrity and independence.

    The Primate said the people of Cyprus are currently facing "the most serious danger" in their history and stressed that we "must have unity among us".

    President Glafcos Clerides yesterday announced his decision not to deploy the S300 Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles and to negotiate with Moscow their possible deployment in the southern Greek island of Crete.

    His decision was fully backed by Greek Minister Costas Simitis and was also welcomed by the US, the UK and the EU.

    The S300 missiles were ordered by the Cyprus government in January 1997 in a bid to boost the island's air defence in case of a new Turkish offensive.

    Cyprus has been divided since Turkish troops invaded the island and occupied 37 per cent of its territory in 1974.

    CNA GG/MA/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    CNA ENDS
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