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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 98-11-10

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, November 10, 1998

Spying for Turkey, Israel or both?

MOST newspapers led with reports about the two Israeli national remanded in custody in connection with a case of spying on the National Guard. There were conflicting reports about the employers of the suspected spies.

Alithia, which reported that the case had put a strain on Cyprus-Israel relations and had angered President Ezer Weizman for destroying all that he had achieved on his visit to the island, claimed the suspects were working for Mossad within the framework the Israel-Turkey military alliance.

While the Cyprus government officially stated that no links had been established between the suspects and the Israeli government, the Israeli press described the incident as a Mossad gaffe.

Haravghi reported that, according to Israeli military analysts, the suspects were agents of the Mossad, which was particularly interested in Cyprus' plans to deploy the Russian-made S-300 missiles. The analysts claimed that the missiles would restrict the freedom of movement of the Israeli air force in the area and be a threat to Turkey.

The paper added that the Israeli government was making efforts to secure the release of the suspects through diplomatic channels.

To Tharros said that the police had enough evidence in their possession to justify charges being brought against the suspects. It said that for the Cyprus authorities it had become quite clear that the Israeli suspects had been working for Turkey.

The paper also quoted House President Spyros Kyprianou as saying that no- one could know who the suspect were working for before the completion of police investigations.

Phileleftheros said the case had taken on "serious dimensions". On the one hand, Israel's Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon had urged the discreet handling of the case, while the National Guard chief, General Demetris Demou, revealed that the two suspects had been monitoring army movements.

Government sources in Tel Aviv were unhappy with the publicity given to the case, claiming that diplomacy could not be conducted through the press. The sources claimed that the Cyprus government had publicised the case because of Israel's alliance with Turkey.

Simerini reported that Greece's Defence Ministry and the National Guard General Staff opposed the proposal to deploy the S-300 missiles in Crete instead of Cyprus. It said the plan to deploy the missiles in Crete had been gaining ground in political circles.

A decision was expected to be taken when the National Council meets on Friday, with another postponement of the arrival on the cards.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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