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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 99-01-05

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, January 05, 1999

Missile mania still dominates front pages

THE AFTERMATH of last week's missile climbdown was still the focus of the dailies' headlines yesterday.

"Withdrawal of US arms in exchange for S-300s" was pro-government Alithia's headline.

Right-wing Tharros had "The Turks would not have struck the missiles" as its headline, while Phileleftheros stated in its headline that "Impressions reversed with new arms purchases".

Phileleftheros focused on the fact that although the S-300 missiles would go to in Greece, Athens would hand over TOR-MI missiles in exchange. According to Phileleftheros, the presence of new arms in Cyprus would help raise public morale, which has been rocked by the decision not to deploy the S-300s.

Simerini quoted outgoing defence minister Yiannakis Omirou, who yesterday submitted his resignation after his party's decision to pull out of the government over the issue, as saying that "the arrival of the S-300s should have materialised".

Haravghi, the mouthpiece of opposition party Akel, also wrote about the defence minister's resignation. It reported that there had been many differences in opinion Omirou and his Greek counterpart, Akis Tsohatzopoulos, over the missiles. Omirou had, however, stressed that there were no strains between Edek and its mother socialist party in Greece, governing Pasok.

Meanwhile, Alithia focused on weekend comments by Yiannis Kranidiotis, the Greek deputy foreign minister. Kranidiotis said that he would like to see the "big powers" reaffirm UN resolutions on Cyprus and the American administration insisting on a withdrawal of all US made arms from the occupied areas.

Tharros' lead story was based on reports that the CIA allegedly did not believe that Turkey would actually have dared to attack the Russian missiles if they had come to Cyprus. The missiles, which were to provide air cover for the Paphos air base, were reported to have been of top priority on the "watchlist" of the American intelligence agency.

Tharros quoted Ellen Lapson of the CIA as saying that Turkey would only violate Cyprus' airspace trying to provoke the a reaction, but would not dare to attack. This forecast, the paper said, had been made after contacts between Lapson and senior officials in the Turkish military. Tharros also claimed that the Turkish army had prepared for talks with Israel about air raids on Cyprus, since Israel had experience with avoiding Russian missiles from her wars with Syria.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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