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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-10-14

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] National Guard manoeuvres end
  • [02] Clerides - Simitis conclude meeting
  • [03] Satisfaction over "Nikiforos '97"
  • [04] Cyprus, Greece join forces
  • [05] Officials visit air base
  • [06] President Clerides returns

  • 1540:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] National Guard manoeuvres end

    Nicosia, Oct 14 (CNA) -- Greek warplanes and parachutists took part in the last phase of the five-day National Guard military exercise code-named "Nikiforos '97", during which live ammunition were used.

    Two Greek A7 Corsair bombers and two F-16 fighters overflew the exercise area and attacked mock land targets.

    Taking part in the annual manoeuvres were National Guard tanks, armoured vehicles, personnel carriers and heavy weapons.

    All units, airforce, navy and land forces participated while parachutists fell from a Greek C-130 military transport plane. Also taking part were Greek navy vessels.

    Meanwhile, the Turkish air force provocations against Greek aircraft taking part in the National Guard's manoeuvres continued today.

    It was reported that 30 Turkish F-16 and F-4 fighters today violated international civil aviation regulations in the Athens FIR (Flight Information Region) in the area southeast of the Greek island of Rhodes and in the Nicosia FIR.

    All the violations were intercepted by Greek F-16 and Mirage 2000 jets, which in some cases engaged with the Turkish fighters.

    Greece has charged that Turkish jet fighters had buzzed the C-130 military transport plane carrying Greece's National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos to Cyprus.

    The Turkish jets had come dangerously close to the transport plane, which landed without further incident.

    Acting President of the Cyprus Republic, House President Spyros Kyprianou, Tsohatzopoulos, and Cyprus' Defence Minister Costas Eliades, watched today's exercise accompanied by the two countries' military leaders.

    The exercise will climax tomorrow when President Glafcos Clerides (who returns from Greece tonight), flanked by two Defence Ministers, will take the salute of a parade of the units which took part in the "Nikiforos '97" exercise.

    CNA AP/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1600:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] Clerides - Simitis conclude meeting

    by Myria Antoniadou

    Athens, Oct 14 (CNA) -- Leaders of Cyprus and Greece today reaffirmed their firm positions for a Cyprus solution based on UN resolutions and for the accession of the island to the European Union (EU).

    The Athens meeting, attended by top government officials from both countries, lasted some 75 minutes and was followed by a working lunch.

    Speaking to the Press, both President Glafcos Clerides and Greek Premier Costas Simitis also said the Greek Cypriot side was ready to reconsider its defence building if the Turkish side accepts Clerides' proposal for demilitarisation of the island.

    They said that important developments are expected during the coming months, especially concerning the issue of Cyprus' accession to the EU.

    Thanking the Greek government for its staunch support to Cyprus, President Clerides expressed special thanks to the Greek Air Force for its participation in the National Guard annual military exercise code-named "Nikiforos '97", which ended today.

    CNA MA/MCH/AP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1840:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] Satisfaction over "Nikiforos '97"

    Nicosia, Oct 14 (CNA) -- Cyprus and Greece will continue their joint defence pact unless a just solution to the Cyprus problem was reached, Acting President of the Republic, House President, Spyros Kyprianou, said here today.

    Kyprianou was speaking after the completion of the five-day National Guard annual military exercise code-Named "Nikiforos '97", the last phase of which he watched with Greek National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos.

    He said this year's exercise might has been the "best" so far conducted with the participation of Greek air and naval forces.

    On his part, Greek Defence Minister said the high efficiency of the manoeuvres has sent a message to all those whose behaviour was nothing but a threat.

    Tsohatzopoulos was implying Turkish threats against Cyprus and Greece, in view of the military exercises the two countries conducted in parallel within the framework of a joint defence pact their governments agreed in November 1993.

    The two men expressed full "satisfaction" with the "success" of today's manoeuvres last phases.

    Greek Air Force and Navy that took part in "Nikiforos '97" also participated in Greek military exercise "Toxotis" which took place in the sea area between Cyprus and the Greek Aegean islands of Rhodes and Crete.

    Meanwhile Turkish State Minister Sukru Gurel claimed, referring to "Nikiforos" that such moves and "military showing of not only poison relations between Turkey and Greece, but can also lead to an increased possibility of accidents, including armed confrontation".

    CNA AP/MCH/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1850:CYPPRESS:04

    [04] Cyprus, Greece join forces

    by Myria Antoniadou

    Athens, Oct 14 (CNA) -- Cyprus and Greece stressed their right to build- up their defences if Turkey continues to reject a proposal for the island's demilitarisation.

    This was said here today by Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Greek Premier Costas Simitis, after a 75-long meeting, during which they discussed developments concerning the Cyprus problem.

    The two leaders pointed out that a Cyprus solution should be based on UN resolutions and expressed their determination to see Cyprus joining the European Union as a full member.

    Premier Simitis said "we are ready to reconsider our defence programme, provided Turkey accepts President Clerides' proposal for demilitarisation of Cyprus".

    He said Greece's wish is not to create tension or confrontation with Turkey.

    However, he said there can be no normalisation of Greco-Turkish relations unless a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem is reached.

    Simitis urged Turkey to abide by the acquis commuanutaire if it wants to normalise its relations with the EU.

    Referring to the UN-led direct talks between President Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, that took place in July and August, Simitis said the peace talks should continue and called upon all countries interested in a Cyprus solution to assist in that direction.

    The Greek Premier said "important developments" are expected to take place during the coming months, especially concerning the issue of Cyprus' accession to the EU.

    President Clerides thanked the Greek Premier and his government for their staunch support to Cyprus and expressed special thanks to the Greek armed forces and especially the Greek air-force for their participation in the National Guard annual military exercise code-named "Nikiforos", which ended today in Cyprus.

    Replying to question, Clerides said Cyprus will continue to bolster its defences for as long as Turkish occupation troops occupy part of Cyprus.

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

    "Armaments and military exercises will not stop but will be further intensified for as long as Turkey launches threats against Cyprus", the Cypriot President said.

    He pointed, however, to the option of demilitarisation, and said: "If Turkey choses this path then we will put an end to armaments and military exercises."

    President Clerides said he expected important developments in the Cyprus problem after the presidential elections, due to take place in February.

    Clerides also met today with the leader of the main opposition New Democracy party, Costas Karamanlis, who reaffirmed his party's support to Cyprus and its bid to join the EU.

    President Clerides flies home later this evening.

    CNA MA/MCH/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1940:CYPPRESS:05

    [05] Officials visit air base

    Paphos, Oct 14 (CNA) -- The Acting President of the Cyprus Republic, the Defence Ministers of Cyprus and Greece and the National Guard Commander inspected today the under construction air base in Paphos.

    Spyros Kyprianou, Costas Eliades, Akis Tsohatzopoulos and Lieutenant General Nikolaos Vorvolakos flew to Paphos from Larnaca in a C-130 Greek military transport plane.

    They toured the base for about an hour and were briefed on the progress of the works.

    No statements were made while reporters were not allowed to enter the area of the air base.

    Meanwhile, four Greek military aircraft, two A-7 Corsair and F-4 landed at the Paphos base.

    Three Greek navy vessels, namely the submarine "Okeanos" (Ocean), the destroyer "Themistoclis" and the frigate "Limnos", docked this afternoon at Larnaca port.

    They all participated in the National Guard annual five-day military exercise code-named "Nikiforos '97", which ended today.

    The Greek National Defence Minister will be presented later this evening with the golden key of the town by Paphos Mayor Phaedias Sarikas.

    CNA SS/MCH/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1010:CYPPRESS:06

    [06] President Clerides returns

    Larnaca, Oct 14 (CNA) -- President Glafcos Clerides returned this evening to Cyprus after 15 days of contacts in the US and Europe discussing the Cyprus problem and ways to find a solution.

    He told the press at Larnaca airport that he had a "very long journey" visiting New York, Washington, London, Strasbourg and Athens, where he had talks on the Cyprus issue with UN, European Union, European Parliament, Council of Europe and government officials.

    Earlier today, President Clerides had talks in Athens with Greek Premier, Costas Simitis, after which both stressed their firm positions for a Cyprus solution based on UN resolutions and for the island's accession to the EU.

    Asked to comment on Simitis' statement about difficulties that have to be prevented, he said the Greek Premier was "speaking, in general, about difficulties we will face in finding a political solution to the Cyprus problem and the course into the EU."

    President Clerides expressed the conviction that the December European Council, to be held in Luxembourg that currently holds the EU presidency, will "set a firm date for the start of accession negotiations."

    "We have looked into the whole issue and have taken some decisions on how to further handle the accession talks issue" with Greece, he said.

    The Cypriot President congratulated the Greek Air Force for its participation in the National Guard annual military exercise "Nikiforos '97" which ended here today, and for its reaction to the increased provocations by Turkish jet fighters.

    President Clerides was adamant in his proposal for the island's complete demilitarisation.

    He explained that Simitis' remark that the Greek Cypriot side would be ready to suspend its defence projects only "when Clerides' proposals for demilitarisation were accepted."

    "If the Turkish side does not consent to the armed forces reduction, that would lead to an agreed demilitarisation, then we will continue with the joint defence pact (with Greece) and our military built-up," he said.

    Clerides assured that US presidential emissary for Cyprus, Richard Holbrooke, had not asked him to suspend the delivery of the Russian S-300 surface-to-air missiles to Cyprus in exchange of suspension of Turkish warplanes overflights.

    "Holbrooke has not suggested such a thing to me, but if he was saying this to me I would have told him it was not satisfactory," he said.

    President Clerides said he expected "substantive developments in the initiatives" towards a Cyprus solution after next year's presidential elections in Cyprus.

    He said he did not know when his next meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash would take place, since UN resident representative, Gustave Feissel, under whose aegis this would be held, is away at the moment.

    CNA AP/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    CNA ENDS
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