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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 97-01-07

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>


CONTENTS

  • [01] Zimbabwe backs efforts for Cyprus' unity and independence
  • [02] Mugabe: The people of Cyprus to decide for their destiny
  • [03] US reacts to Cyprus-Russia missile deal
  • [04] Cyprus will not cancel arms deal
  • [05] Mugabe stresses need for pressure against Turkey
  • [06] Cyprus Stock Exchange
  • [07] Russian Deputy Foreign Minister to visit Cyprus
  • [08] Cyprus dismisses criticism over arms deal
  • [09] Church backs arms deal
  • [10] President sends message to Russian FM

  • 1115:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Zimbabwe backs efforts for Cyprus' unity and independence

    Nicosia, Jan 7 (CNA) -- Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has fully backed efforts for an independent, united and federal Cyprus.

    In a speech on the occasion of a state banquet held by Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides in his honour last night, Mugabe said his country ''in all international fora, has always expressed its frustration at the present impasse in peace talks between your two communities''.

    He said ''we reaffirm the hope that a multi-pronged approach to the problems you face can stir both sides towards a peaceful resolution of the present conflict''.

    President Mugabe expressed the hope that with the findings and recommendations of the recent report of the UN Secretary-General and the renewal of the mandate of the UN peacekeeping force will be followed by ''dialogue leading to a permanent solution that will make future renewals of mandates unnecessary''.

    Referring to bilateral relations, Mugabe said he wishes to see ''closer economic, technical and cultural cooperation'' between the two countries.

    Pursuant to these goals, he said, the two countries should ''create an enabling mechanism that would facilitate and spearhead development of this cooperation'', such as a ''general agreement on economic, scientific, technical and cultural cooperation which will enable the establishment of a joint commission'.

    President Clerides said President Mugabe's presence is ''a tangible evidence of the will of your government to further enhance and strengthen our cooperation in all fields.''

    He further underlined the existing ''excellent relations'' between the two countries.

    President Clerides expressed ''profound gratitude for the invaluable support and the solidarity rendered by Zimbabwe, as a leading African state, to Cyprus at the UN, the Non-Aligned Movement and the Commonwealth''.

    Zimbabwe and Mugabe, he said, ''have always been a staunch supporter for a just and viable solution of the long standing Cyprus problem''.

    Clerides noted that Cyprus is ''determined to continue to seek through peaceful means a workable and lasting solution to the Cyprus problem which will guarantee the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms of the people of Cyprus as a whole''.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of the island's territory.

    Mugabe, who arrived yesterday, continues his three-day visit today with meetings with the Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church, Archbishop Chrysostomos.

    The President of Zimbabwe will also meet House President Spyros Kyprianou and address a special session of the House of Representatives this afternoon.

    CNA EC/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1130:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] Mugabe: The people of Cyprus to decide for their destiny

    Nicosia, Jan 7 (CNA) -- ''Let the people of Cyprus think, act and decide for themselves the way they want to go,'' Zimbabwean President, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, noted today in the visitors' book at the Nicosia dividing line.

    President Mugabe and the Zimbabwean delegation who are on a state visit to Cyprus, visited this morning the demarcation line in Nicosia, the world's last divided capital.

    Signing the visitors' book, President Mugabe noted that division heightens ethnic tension and ''turns into hatred of man against man.

    ''Let the people of Cyprus, think, act and decide for themselves the way they want to go'', he stressed, adding that ''freedom is the guiding principle of self-determination.''

    The Zimbabwean President reiterated once more his country's firm support to ''the struggle of the Cypriots for their own destiny.''

    Nicosia Mayor, Lellos Demetrides, presented President Mugabe with a silver emblem of the capital and a book on Nicosia.

    The Zimbabwean President will later today meet with Archbishop Chrysostomos and President of the House of Representatives, Spyros Kyprianou. He will also address a special session of the House and meet with political party leaders. CNA MCH/GP/1997

    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1230:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] US reacts to Cyprus-Russia missile deal

    Nicosia, Jan 7 (CNA) -- The U.S State Department has strongly reacted to the signing of a contract by the Cyprus government to purchase Russian S- 300 anti-aircraft missiles.

    Reading a written statement, Spokesman Nicholas Burns said the government of Cyprus signed a contract January 4 to purchase the Russian S- 300 anti-aircraft missile system.

    ''The United States regrets this step and we have made it clear to the Government of Cyprus and others that we believe this will complicate efforts to achieve a lasting peace in Cyprus,'' he said.

    Burns said the Cypriot decision "introduces a new and destabilizing military element on the island and in the region at the very time the international community is exploring ways to foster political cooperation to significanly advance a settlement. Cyprus is already one of the most mililitarized areas in the world. Turkey maintains a very large military force on the island and both sides are very heavily armed.''

    He said lasting security and peace for the people on the island can only be achieved at the bargaining table, with all sides committed to finding a solution.

    The State Department Spokesamn said the past has shown that importing weapons has brought only arms increases from the other side. ''This new missile system is even more troubling as it threatens to take the arms build up on Cyprus to a new qualitative level.''

    He recalled that the UN Security Council only last month warned that the importation of sophisticated weaponry threatens to raise tensions and complicate peace efforts.

    ''Regardless of when the system might be deployed, we believe the conclusion of this sales contract makes any mediation effort that much more difficult and harms the political atmosphere. The action of the Government of Cyprus is a step down the wrong path,'' Burns said.

    He added the United States remains committed to pursuing efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem. Working with the international community, President Clinton is determined to move forward. For these efforts succeed, the parties and their partners in the region must also be prepared to make the tough choices to proceed to achieve peace.

    ''All bear responsibility to adopt concrete measures to decrease tensions - such as reducing defense expenditures, ending provocative military exercises and improving safety along the cease-fire lines - to advance a political solution,'' the Spokesman added.

    After reading the written statement, Burns responded to questions regarding issue. He said the US was apprised of this sales contract in advance. In fact, US ambassador to Cyprus Kenneth Brill met President Glafcos Clerides in Nicosia over the weekend to express the very strong disappointment of the United States in this sale.

    ''We have expressed our similar disappointment to the Russian government, and we've been in touch, as you can imagine, with the Greek and Turkish governments and others about the ramification of this sale,'' he added.

    Burns he described the State Department statement as ''unusual strong'' but this is a sign of the displeasure of the United States.

    ''Now, we've issued a very strongly-worded protest today. It is somewhat unusual for us to do this, but I think you should take that as a sign of the displeasure of the United States and for what we think this will do, the negative consequences it will have for the peace negotiations.''

    When asked by CNA about the proposal of President Clerides for the island's complete demilitarisation and why the US does not push Turkey to accept this proposal, Burns did not respond directly to the question.

    ''The United States would certainly like to see a decrease in the level of military arms on all sides of this conflict, and that is a long-held US position. But because one side feels aggrieved, does not give that side, we believe, the right to up the ante. Measures like this will simply lead, we believe, to countermeasures by the opposing sides, which cannot be in the interest of anyone".

    Finally, the Spokesman was asked to address the issue of the defensive nature of the missiles, and why when the US supplied similar missiles in the Middle East, to Jordan and Israel, it was argued they were stabilizing and helpful to the negotiations weapons.

    ''Well, no two situations around the world on any two regions are similar. In fact, they're dissimilar in this case. We believe that the introduction of this particular system will be destablizizing. We don't believe that it's going to add to the precictability of the military posture of the Cypriot government. We dont' believe it's going to add any measure of confidence on either side about the military balance. And, in fact, if the past is any indication of what's going to happen in the future, it'll just invite the other side to take a reciprocal move. That can't be in the interest, we believe, of any of the parties,'' the State Department Spokesman added.

    CNA DA/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1320:CYPPRESS:04

    [04] Cyprus will not cancel arms deal

    Nicosia, Jan 7 (CNA) -- The Cyprus government has no intention of cancelling an agreement for the purchase of Russian-made S-300 surface-to- air missiles.

    At the same time, it declared that it will not use any of its weapons for offensive purposes.

    ''Our firm position is that we decide how to best organise our defences to safeguard the security of Greek Hellenism,'' Government Spokesman Yiannakis Cassoulides told the press today.

    Furthermore he pointed out that ''the government also decides how its defence capability is to be more effective.''

    Cassoulides' categorical statement follows a barrage of warnings from the US, Turkey and others about the repercussions of the multi-million- dollar arms deal.

    ''We do not intend to ever use any weapons system against anybody except in case of an offensive against us,'' Cassoulides underlined.

    The Spokesman pointed out that Cyprus has no illusions about its defence capability and added ''we have no illusion that we can ever launch an offensive against the Turkish army.''

    ''We simply want to safeguard that others will not attack us because in such a case, we want to have effective defence,'' he said.

    Turkish troops have been occupying 37 per cent of Cyprus territory since 1974, in violation of repeated UN resolutions calling for their withdrawal. CNA MM/GP/1997

    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1330:CYPPRESS:05

    [05] Mugabe stresses need for pressure against Turkey

    Nicosia, Jan 7 (CNA) -- Zimbabwean President Robert Gabriel Mugabe expressed sadness for the division of Cyprus and stressed the need for pressure to be exerted against Turkey to withdraw its troops from the island.

    ''The people of Cyprus do not deserve division. Those responsible, the Turkish invading force, should change their mind'', President Mugabe told journalists after a meeting here today with Archbishop Chrysostomos.

    The Archbishop said he briefed Mugabe on the latest developments in the Cyprus problem.

    President Mugabe underlined the importance of respect of the right to self-determination, saying the ''Greek and Turkish Cypriots must be left to decide their own destiny and future.

    ''I believe that time has come for pressure to be exerted on Turkey'', he added, noting that even though Zimbabwe is friendly towards Turkey it is not blind to the injustice it has committed.

    Expressing support to UN efforts for a solution of the Cyprus problem, President Mugabe stressed again that ''pressure must be put on any force or country that seeks to prevent that from happening.''

    President Mugabe also referred to US and British efforts for a Cyprus settlement, adding that the Cyprus problem, ''will be raised at our next Commonwealth meeting in Scotland this year and I hope Britain will be able to inform us as to the steps it is taking.''

    He reaffirmed Africa's support to the efforts for a solution to ''protracted problem'' of Cyprus.

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

    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1445:CYPPRESS:06

    [06] Cyprus Stock Exchange

    Nicosia, Jan 7 (CNA) -- The Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) All Share Index closed at today's stock exchange meeting as follows:
    CSE All Share Index                    81.07 (-1.31)
    
    Sectural Indices
    
    Banks                                  90.22 (-1.59)
    Approved Investment Companies          73.38 (-1.53)
    Insurance Companies                    57.66 (-0.22)
    Industrial Companies                   82.10 (-0.61)
    Tourist Industries                     71.07 (-1.22)
    Commercial Companies                   61.15 (-1.05)
    Other Companies                        65.16 (-1.72)
    
    Trading Volume                         CYP 341937.030
    
    * The difference in brackets represents the percentage increase (+) or decrease (-) of the index from the previous stock exchange meeting. CNA GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1450:CYPPRESS:07

    [07] Russian Deputy Foreign Minister to visit Cyprus

    Nicosia, Jan 7 (CNA) -- Russian Deputy Foreign Minister responsible for Balkan and Cyprus affairs, Nikolai Afanasefski, will visit the island in late January.

    According to the Russian News Agency, Novosti, Afanasefski's visit is an attempt on the part of Moscow to stress that any initiative launched on Cyprus should be a coordinated effort involving all UN Security Council permanent members.

    Novosti also reports that the Russian official will have meetings with representatives of the two communities in Cyprus.

    The visit is described as a continuation of Moscow's active interest in efforts towards a Cyprus settlement and follows a letter by Russian Foreign Minister, Yevgeny Primakov to President Glafcos Clerides. CNA CG/MCH/GP/1997

    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1645 :CYPPRESS:08

    [08] Cyprus dismisses criticism over arms deal

    Nicosia, Jan 7 (CNA) -- The government has today dismissed accusations, mainly from foreign countries, that its military build-up would hamper the peace process.

    The government has also criticised the US, which strongly opposes the purchase agreement of Russian S300 surface-to-air missiles by Cyprus, for not adopting the same attitude over the years towards Turkey's military presence on the island.

    ''Those who react are making a big mistake if they believe that boosting our defence capability is an obstacle to the peace effort for a settlement of the Cyprus question,'' Government Spokesman Yiannakis Cassoulides said here Tuesday.

    He said the government's desire to see the problem solved ''shall not be modified because of the effective upgrading of our defence capability.''

    ''We consider that boosting our defences will facilitate the peace process because we see that Turkish intransigence and arrogance stems from its military superiority due to the presence of the Turkish occupation troops in Cyprus,'' Cassoulides said.

    The Spokesman said the government will not use these arms ''unless it is attacked.''

    ''We know very well what self-restraint means and we are well aware of what reason dictates,'' he remarked.

    He also said there was no reason for concern and noted that at this stage talk about ''either military measures or a Turkish offensive'' is unwarranted.

    ''No reasonable man would believe that Cyprus will use its armed forces, the National Guard, to launch an offensive. I would also like to assure the Turkish Cypriots that there are in no danger at all,'' he stressed.

    Referring specifically to American reaction to the agreement for the purchase of the Russian missiles, Cassoulides pointed out that the US did not react in a similar fashion when Turkey vastly upgraded its occupation troops on the island.

    He said the Turkish occupation troops are armed with US-made and NATO weapons in contravention to US law and NATO principles.

    ''Such weapons are meant to be used against possible NATO enemies. Cyprus is certainly not one of them,'' Cassoulides noted.

    He also rapped US criticism of the purchase, that it would upset regional stability.

    ''Has our region experienced stability with the presence of 35,000 Turkish troops and its 400 armoured vehicles in Cyprus or with the absolute air superiority by the Turkish air force?'' Cassoulides wondered.

    He stressed in no uncertain terms that the agreement on the Russian S300 air-defence missiles will not be cancelled and said Cyprus went ahead with the arms deal with that country which was ready to sell the necessary armaments to Cyprus at the right price.

    The US, he explained, has an arms sale embargo to Cyprus. CNA MM/AP/1997

    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1915:CYPPRESS:09

    [09] Church backs arms deal

    Nicosia, Jan 7 (CNA) -- The Primate of the Church of Cyprus, Archbishop Chrysostomos, has backed the government's decision to boost its defence capability, following criticism of an arms deal the government has clinched for the purchase of the Russian-made S300 surface-to-air missiles.

    ''We cannot remain idle when Turkey occupies nearly half of Cyprus and maintains a strong military presence in the occupied areas,'' the Archbishop said.

    Once the Turkish troops withdraw from the island, he pointed out, Cyprus will not need any weapons.

    ''We want to see peace and the restoration of human rights for Greek and Turkish Cypriots alike,'' he told the press today.

    The Church leader called on those who protested against the purchase of the air-defence missiles to ''address themselves to Turkey'' and noted that Cyprus ''has a rudimentary duty to protect itself.''

    ''Let the big powers address themselves to Turkey and exert pressure on that country to withdraw its troops and restore human rights and subsequently we will not need weapons,'' he added.

    Last Saturday, the government signed a multi-million dollar agreement with a Russian company for the supply of anti-aircraft missiles, expected to be deployed sometime in the future. CNA MM/AP/1997

    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    2020:CYPPRESS:10

    [10] President sends message to Russian FM

    Nicosia, Jan 7 (CNA) -- President Glafcos Clerides is conveying a message to Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeni Primakov on the Cyprus problem.

    The message, to be carried personally by the leader of the main opposition left-wing party AKEL, Demetris Christofias, is in reply to Primakov's letter to the President in October.

    No details were made available about the contents of either message.

    Speaking on departure for Moscow, earlier today, Christofias did not disclose anything about his mission to Moscow during which he will have a meeting with Primakov.

    AKEL leader fully backed the government's decision to buy the Russian- made S300 surface-to-air missiles to safeguard Cyprus' defence capability.

    ''The Republic, which has been and continues to be under Turkish occupation for the past 22 years, is trying to secure such defences which would not allow the occupation power to take chances at will,'' Christofias said.

    He described the reaction of foreign governments about the arms deal as ''unacceptable and excessive'' and called on the government to evaluate the fuss created over the purchase.

    ''Those who are so concerned about the anti-aircraft missiles purchase must move in the direction of Turkey to persuade her to change its tune,'' Christofias noted. CNA MM/AP/1997

    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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