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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 98-07-14

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, July 14, 1998

Papers in missile frenzy

WITH PRESIDENT Clerides due to meet Russian President Boris Yeltsin in Moscow, yesterday's dailies focused, predictably, on the government's controversial order for Russian S-300 missiles.

Phileleftheros stated that the meeting would see the question of whether Cyprus and Russia would bow to international pressure to cancel the order or not finally resolved. Nicosia considers that the ground-to-air missile system becomes its property as soon as the last payments on the deal are made, the paper stated. The missiles were almost ready and now only needed the finishing touches to their radar system.

"The S-300s are coming" was the banner headline in To Tharros.

The right-wing daily stated the missiles would soon be government property and added that Russia was prepared to do her bit to ensure they weapons arrived on the island safe and sound.

Military sources had confirmed Russia was prepared to provide both air and naval cover to bring the missiles to Cyprus.

The paper also reported that the CIA believed the arrival of the S-300s in Cyprus would lead to Turkey carrying out its threat of a military strike to wipe out the missiles. It would be very hard for Greece not to respond to such military action from her arch-rival, the CIA apparently believe.

Left-wing Haravgi reported that Moscow was prepared to back an appeal by Cyprus to the UN Security Council over the Cyprus problem, even if Russian politicians were not convinced the climate at the UN was right for such an appeal.

The paper added that Russian technicians would be responsible for maintenance and upkeep of the missile system after delivery.

Simerini reported that Moscow and Nicosia would use Clerides's visit to coordinate their actions to fight off the intensifying international diplomatic offensive for the cancellation of the S-300 deal expected over the coming months.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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