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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-10-17

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Annan reiterates call for reduction of arms
  • [02] Appeal for European action on sustainable development
  • [03] British representations over flights

  • 0930:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Annan reiterates call for reduction of arms

    Nicosia, Oct 16 (CNA) -- The UN Secretary-General has urged for a reduction of military forces and armaments in Cyprus and expressed concern over tension between Greek and Turkish forces.

    In a statement issued through a spokesman Thursday, Kofi Annan strongly urged all parties to act in accordance with Security Council resolutions expressing grave concern with excessive levels of military forces and armaments in Cyprus and the rate at which they were being expanded.

    "The Secretary-General is concerned by reports of increased tension between Greek and Turkish forces in connection with military exercises in and around Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean," the statement said.

    "This follows increasingly belligerent rhetoric in recent weeks emanating from both communities in Cyprus and from Greece and Turkey."

    The UN chief said "competition in military exercises increases tension on the island, is dangerous, and could provoke confrontation."

    Reminding of Security Council resolutions on the increase of arms on the island, the statement noted "they call upon all concerned to commit themselves to a reduction in defense spending and a reduction of foreign troops."

    It added they also "call upon the parties to create a climate for reconciliation and genuine mutual confidence on both sides and to avoid any actions which might increase tension."

    Turkish fighters attempted to prevent Greek fighters from taking part in the five-day military exercise code-named "Nikiforos '97", which ended Wednesday.

    Turkish fighters also buzzed the C-130 Hercules military transport plane carrying Greek Defence Minister, Akis Tsohatzopoulos, to and from Cyprus.

    Tsohatzopoulos had come to Cyprus to watch the last phase of the exercise and meet with the island's political leadership.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

    CNA MA/GP/1997

    [02] Appeal for European action on sustainable development

    Limassol, Oct 17 (CNA) -- Council of Europe (CoE) Deputy Secretary General, Hans Christian Krueger, called for Europe-wide action on sustainable development.

    At the same time, he urged CoE members to protect water resources.

    Krueger told a CoE Conference of European Planning Ministers (CEMAT) here that the "aim is to take firm action to respond to the concerns of our citizens".

    "Following its steady enlargement of the past years, the CoE is now an organisation with a continental dimension, covering a geographical area in a way that is particularly favourable to a wide ranging approach towards sustainable development," he added.

    European citizens, he said, must be sensitive to the consequences of the globalisation of the economy and the way that it will affect the European's way of life.

    In his introductory report, Cyprus Interior Minister, Dinos Michaelides, said that in order to turn the ideal of Greater Europe into a realistic and appealing proposition it is essential to devise a comprehensive coordinated, harmonious balanced and sustainable regional planning framework.

    Such a regional planning strategy, he said, "will be used as a guide for the effective and efficient distribution, allocation and transfer of scarce financial resources, while taking into account the future role of Europe in its wider context."

    Michaelides added that any such strategy must be conceived as an integrated and comprehensive approach to the fundamental question of promoting sustainable development.

    The minister outlined strategies within a comprehensive regional and spatial planning framework for the protection of water resources.

    He noted that the quality of life of European citizens in the future will depend on the effectiveness of efforts to protect existing water resources against pollution.

    For this reason, it is essential for Greater Europe "to decide on a rational, comprehensive and long-term pan-European strategy for the efficient protection and management of water resources."

    Noting that the protection of water resources imposes considerable costs, Michaelides said that large scale water users and distributors should be kept at all times aware of the need to participate in safeguarding the integrity of water resources and implementing measures for avoiding its waste.

    Michaelides said any deterioration of the quality of water resources inevitably results in adverse effects on the quality of international water elements and significant impacts on the environmental conditions of other states.

    Attending the CEMAT meeting are Regional Planning Ministers and experts from the CoE's 40 member states. The meeting ends today with a press conference on the results of the deliberations.

    CNA EC/GP/1997

    [03] British representations over flights

    Nicosia, Oct 17 (CNA) -- Britain has made representations to the Cyprus government over flights by Greek military aircraft during joint Greco- Cypriot annual manoeuvres earlier this week.

    Two F-16 flew on Tuesday at 2,000 feet over one of the British sovereign bases, Akrotiri, on the south coast without getting diplomatic clearance.

    Government Spokesman Manolis Christofides said today the incident is under investigation and the government will seek the legal opinion of the Attorney General as to whether the air space above Akrotiri is sovereign.

    "Since the Cyprus Republic was established there has been full cooperation between us and the United Kingdom in order to safeguard security and effective operation of the military bases, as stipulated in Article 2 of the Treaty of Establishment of the Republic of Cyprus," Christofides said.

    The spokesman also recalled Article 3 of the same Treaty that "Cyprus, Greece, Turkey and the UK undertake to consult and cooperate in the common defence of Cyprus."

    "Cyprus, at the time of its establishment in 1960, believed in good faith that it had ensured its security through the Treaty of Guarantee and the Treaty of Alliance," he said.

    He also said that when Cyprus conceded to allocate two sovereign bases to Britain "it expected this would benefit its security, independence and territorial integrity."

    Replying to questions, he said the representations were made in writing to the Foreign Ministry.

    According to the British stance, advance notification should have been given for safety reasons and diplomatic clearance should have been secured ahead of time.

    "The British bases are there, the agreements are adhered to and their sovereignty is not being questioned," Christofides said.

    He pointed out that the Attorney General of the Cyprus Republic will rule whether the air space over Akrotiri and Dhekelia (on the south east) is British sovereign air space.

    CNA EC/MM/GP/1997

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