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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 98-07-28

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, July 28, 1998

Unease over strained relations with US

THE ANTI-AMERICAN outburst by Greece's Foreign Minister, Theodoros Pangalos has provoked a sense of unease in both Nicosia and Athens, widely reported yesterday.

Alithia took a positive view of Pangalos' comments, saying that both the Disy leader Nicos Anastassiades and the Cyprus Defence Minister Yiannakis Omirou had welcomed them.

Anastassiades, praising Pangalos' "dignified stance", said that Cyprus fully backed Greece response to the US - that it would not give in to threats. As long as Cyprus was under threat from Turkey and the international community maintained its hypocritical stand that wants to keep Cyprus unarmed while supplying Turkey with guns, the missiles would come, he said.

Haravghi gave prominence to Akel leader Demetris Christofias' critique of the government's 'anti-American' rhetoric, which, he claimed was the result of "confusion and uncertainty".

Christofias had held a press conference to respond to Anastassiades' comments, made earlier on Sunday. He said that the government was simply using Russia, without any planning, to frighten the US. He feared that such a move could lead to even greater isolation for Cyprus. He added that "the government's clumsy handling of the Cyprus issue" had failed to break the deadlock.

Simerini reported that Greece's Prime Minister Costas Simitis made no secret of the fact that he was "very worried" about the turn that the deployment of the S-300 missiles had taken. He was also concerned about the deterioration of Greece-US relations.

According to Athens press reports, Simitis's desire is to close the issue of the missiles, but he knows that this is, politically, very difficult. The Turkish side, with elections approaching, has become exceedingly aggressive and will allow no room for compromise.

To Tharros also reported that Simitis was looking for a way out from the missiles crisis that had jeopardised Greece-US relations. A reliable source told the paper that the same concerns pre-occupied President Clerides, which was why a meeting with Simitis was a matter of urgency.

Clerides, reportedly, would like to arrange a meeting of the Cyprus political leadership with Simitis, at which the missile issue would be discussed. Simitis is opposed to this, preferring a one-to-one meeting with Clerides.

Phileleftheros, said that, "without watering down its stance on the missiles", the government would attempt to repair relations with the US, which are currently at a low point.

The governments in Nicosia and Athens were taking stock of the handling of the missile issue with the objective of finding an alternative arrangement to counter Turkey's designs.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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