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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 98-03-28

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, March 28, 1998

US prepares new proposals?

THE DIPLOMATIC exchanges about the flights moratorium over Cyprus and the cancellation of the order of the S-300 missiles came under press scrutiny yesterday.

Alithia reported that the US had proposed a permanent moratorium on flights of all Greek and Turkish fighter planes over Cyprus, in response to Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos' suggestion for the creation of a flight exclusion zone, similar to that in Iraq.

In this way, the US prevented discussion of the Pangalos proposal which it considered "impractical". State Department officials claimed that an exclusion zone, "which could pit one Nato member against another is not the best way of defusing tension and building confidence," the paper said.

Phileleftheros said that the US was considering promoting a non- aggression pact in the latest effort to block the deployment of the missiles in Cyprus. The Cyprus government was not satisfied with this, insisting that the its two conditions (progress in the peace talks and an agreed time-frame for demilitarisation) be met before cancelling the missile order.

Foreign Minister Ioannis Cassoulides said that the issue of the moratorium should be considered closed, even though the US had kept it on the agenda.

Simerini also said that the US was working out new suggestions, aimed at defusing regional tension and lifting the deadlock in the peace talks.

The US rejection of Pangalos' proposal, in combination with the Cyprus deadlock referred to by UN envoy Diego Cordovez, "created a negative climate which should be tackled with the correct political approach".

Haravghi said that Pangalos' admission, that the Cyprus government had given its approval to his proposal, as well as the ambiguous statements on the matter in Nicosia and Athens raised several questions.

It was clear that neither Greece's nor Cyprus' Ministers of Defence knew anything about the proposal. Despite the contradictory statements, the government spokesman said that Athens and Nicosia were in close co- operation.

Machi, in an exclusive report, claimed that the National Guard had been supplied with the wrong fuel for the new T-80U tanks. An investigation was currently under way to establish whether the engines had been affected by the fuel which, contrary to specifications was high in sulphur content.

Agon reported the findings of a Diko committee set up to establish the reasons for the party's poor election showing. The committee concluded that if a Diko candidate stood instead of George Iacovou, President Clerides would have been defeated.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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