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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 97-01-06

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Government admits missile deal
  • [02] President Mugabe arrives for state visit
  • [03] Mugabe calls on Turkish-troop pull-out from Cyprus
  • [04] Britain expresses concern about Cyprus military build-up

  • 1335:CYPPRESS:02

    [01] Government admits missile deal

    Nicosia, Jan 6 (CNA) -- The government has confirmed the signing of an arms deal for the purchase of the Russian-made S-300 surface-to-air missiles.

    Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides told a private television network the deal ''is a reality, the process has been concluded and the relevant agreement signed.''

    The Minister, however, pointed out the goods will be delivered at a later date, but avoided to be more specific.

    ''The agreement in question, as well as other agreements we may conclude, concern the delivery of military hardware not now, but sometime in the future,'' the Minister told ANTENA TV.

    The multi-million dollar arms deal, said to have been signed on Saturday, has caused the US, European countries and Turkey to express grave concern over the military build-up in Cyprus.

    ''Our ambassador to the US was summoned to the State Department where the American administration expressed its deep concern about our moves,'' Michaelides said.

    The US representations, he explained, relate to American concerns that ''these moves may cause difficulties in future steps (towards a settlement) and create tension.''

    The Minister stressed that as long as part of Cyprus is occupied by Turkish troops, estimated by the UN at 35,000, tension on the island will persist.

    This deal, he explained, conveys the message that efforts towards a settlement must be intensified and speeded up.

    ''The missiles will boost our defence capability and are not in any way an act of aggression,'' he added, noting that President Glafcos Clerides' proposal for the demilitarisation of Cyprus is still on the cards.

    Michaelides wondered why no representations were made over the continuing illegal presence of some 35 thousand Turkish troops in Cyprus, when the UN chief himself has confirmed this massive military presence, and the repeated violations of the Republic's air space by Turkish military aircraft. CNA MM/MA/1997


    [02] President Mugabe arrives for state visit

    Larnaca, Jan 6 (CNA) -- Zimbabwe's President, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, arrived in Cyprus this afternoon for a three-day state visit during which he will meet President Glafcos Clerides, government officials and political party leaders.

    President Clerides met him at Larnaca International Airport.

    Mugabe is accompanied by first lady, Grace Mugabe, Foreign Minister Stanislaus Mudenge, Deputy Ministers of Environment and Tourism and Sports and Culture and other government officials.

    The two Presidents will hold talks later today at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia.

    In the evening a state banquet will be held in honour of the President of Zimbabwe. CNA EC/MCH/GP/1997


    [03] Mugabe calls on Turkish-troop pull-out from Cyprus

    Larnaca, Jan 6 (CNA) -- Zimbabwe is against occupation and calls for the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Cyprus, Zimbabwean President Robert Gabriel Mugabe, stressed on arrival here today, for a three-day state visit.

    ''I bring you the greetings of the people of Zimbabwe'', President Mugabe told President Glafcos Clerides, state officials and party leaders and representatives that welcomed him at Larnaca airport.

    He noted that the peoples of the two countries are great friends and allies.

    President Mugabe referred to his country's objection to occupation and suppression, and called on Turkey to withdraw its troops from the island and ''leave it to the people of Cyprus.''

    ''They (the people of Cyprus) are mature and wise enough to settle their own internal problems'', he added.

    Turkish troops have been occupying 37 per cent of Cyprus territory since 1974, in violation of repeated UN resolutions calling for their withdrawal.

    On his part, President Clerides welcomed Mugabe, saying the President of Zimbabwe has been ''a great friend of Cyprus, who has raised his voice for justice for Cyprus many times.''

    Noting that ''distance has never been a barrier between our two countries'', President Clerides said talks with his Zimbabwean counterpart will serve to promote closer relations between the two countries.

    The two Presidents will hold talks later today at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia. CNA EC/MCH/GP/1997


    [04] Britain expresses concern about Cyprus military build-up

    London, Jan 6 (CNA) -- Britain has expressed concern about the decision of the Cyprus Republic to buy Russian-made S-300 surface-to-air missiles.

    In a written statement, the Foreign Office said ''we have repeatedly expressed to the government of Cyprus our concern about the arms build-up, and specifically the proposal to buy surface-to-air missiles. We will take this up again with them in the light of the weekend's announcement.''

    The British Foreign Office recalled that the UN Security Council on 23 December 1996 unanimously reiterated its concern about the ''excessive levels of military forces and armaments'' in Cyprus.

    Asked by CNA London correspondent whether the British government taking into account the size of the military forces as well as the arms build-up in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus, a Foreign Office Spokesman referred him to a statement by British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind, during his recent visit to the island.

    Speaking at a press conference on December 16, 1996 in Nicosia, Rifkind called on both sides in Cyprus to slow down their militarisation plans.

    He described the Cyprus Republic's arms purchases programme as ''a big step in the wrong direction''.

    To a second question whether in the British government view the Cyprus government should consider the defence of Cyprus being at a satisfactory level without these new missile system, the Foreign Office Spokesman replied ''I don't want to go into details''.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory. CNA KT/GP/1997


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