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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-10-22

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] Russia dismisses reports on S-300s
  • [02] Holbrooke criticises State Department statement
  • [03] Enclaved pupils exhibit in Strasbourg
  • [04] Cyprus harmonisation process with EU

  • 0945:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Russia dismisses reports on S-300s

    Nicosia, Oct 22 (CNA) -- Russia has officially rejected reports it was committed to the US to cancel delivery of purchased missiles to Cyprus.

    According to the Athens News Agency (ANA) Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Avdeyev assured last night in Kiev Greek Foreign Under- Secretary, Yiannos Kranidiotis, his country had not been committed to the US to cancel purchase by Cyprus of S-300 surface-to-air missiles.

    Kranidiotis said Avdeyev had assured him Russia would honour the arms deal, signed early this year between the Cyprus government and Russian manufacturers, ANA said.

    Avdeyev said there would be no change in S-300s scheduled delivery by mid-1998 to Cyprus, unless Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides' proposal for the island's demilitarisation went ahead.

    Last Monday President Clerides dismissed reports that the purchase of missiles has been cancelled after US intervention.

    "The reports have categorically been dismissed by the Russian Ambassador to Cyprus," Georgi Mouratov, he said.

    The Cypriot President said when the Russian Ambassador was informed of the reports he described them as "mid-summer night's dream."

    Clerides had been commenting on reports published in the American magazine "Military Procurement International" (MPI) and cited by the BBC Greek service.

    The magazine said: "The US has obtained agreement from President Boris Yeltsin to renounce the Russian contract for the sale of advanced S-300 surface-to-air missiles."

    According to MPI sources, "the US threatened to reduce or cut off its substantial aid to Russia unless it agreed to terminate the contract."

    ANA reported Kranidiotis and Avdeyev had agreed that Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin would visit Greece early next year, following an Athens visit by the country's Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov.

    Avdeyev will travel to Athens to arrange details of the two Russian officials' visits to Greece.

    According to press reports Primakov might also visit Nicosia and Ankara to have talks on the protracted Cyprus issue.

    CNA AP/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    0950:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] Holbrooke criticises State Department statement

    Nicosia, Oct 22 (CNA) -- US Presidential Emissary for Cyprus Richard Holbrooke acknowledged that Turkish military aircraft buzzed a transport military plane carrying a Greek minister from Cyprus to Greece.

    In statements to the Athens News Agency (ANA), Holbrooke said he had no doubt that the provocative buzzing of the aircraft by Turkish aircraft did take place.

    He described the US State Department's refusal to acknowledge the incident as a "mistake".

    Holbrooke was quoted by ANA as saying that there can be no justification for the Turkish action which cannot be questioned when it has been recorded by cameras.

    The US official said that even if Greek National Defence Minister, Akis Tsohatzopoulos was not in the C-130 "Hercules", it is still an unacceptable action which does not contribute at all in efforts to de-escalate tension between Greece and Turkey.

    Further to that, he described it "a very serious incident" in which lives were endangered.

    Referring to the confusion caused by statements made by State Department Spokesman, James Rubin, who described Tsohatzopoulos's flight as "an overflight" in Cyprus, Holbrooke said that the Spokesman was not fully informed by the relevant officials of the State Department.

    Tsohatzopoulos' aircraft was buzzed by Turkish aircraft earlier this month on two occasions, during his journey to Cyprus to watch part of the military exercise "Nikiforos" and while he was returning to Athens.

    During his briefing Monday, Rubin called for a return to an overflight ban over Cyprus.

    However, the Cyprus Foreign Ministry, in a statement Tuesday, clarified that there has never been an agreement for a moratorium of overflights.

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

    CNA EC/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1135:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] Enclaved pupils exhibit in Strasbourg

    Nicosia, Oct 22 (CNA) -- Greek Cypriot enclaved teacher, Eleni Foka, one of the three candidates for the "Sakharov '97" award, is in Strasbourg for an exhibition of paintings of enclaved pupils.

    Invited by Greek Euro MP, Nikitas Kaklamanis, Foka is in charge of the exhibition organised at the European Parliament.

    The exhibition contains photographs, sketches and essays by the children of the Agia Triada elementary school in the Turkish-occupied Karpass peninsula, located in the eastern tip of the island.

    Opening the exhibition, President of the Cyprus-European Union (EU) Joint Parliamentary Committee, Belgian Euro MP Philippe Monfils, praised Foka for her struggle.

    He expressed hope the European Parliament would acknowledge her efforts by awarding her with the Sakharov award.

    Greek Euro MP Demetris Tsatsos, welcoming Foka on behalf of his Greek colleagues, stressed "it is one thing talking about freedom and another to make it happen through struggle."

    Replying, Foka said she is only carrying out her duty. Referring to the exhibition, she said it aims to show the length of the violation of human rights in Cyprus and especially the violation of the rights of the children.

    The "Sakharov '97" award will be presented tomorrow. It is awarded to persons or organisations who have been distinguished for their work in support of democracy and human rights.

    Foka has been praised for her courage to stand up to the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime in the occupied areas.

    She refuses to sign a so called "identity card" of the pseudo state in the north since last year and has been the victim of continuous harassment from occupation regime agents.

    The Turkish Cypriot regime was set up in 1983, following the Turkish invasion of the island in 1974 and the occupation of 37 per cent of the island's territory.

    Foka returned to the government-controlled areas in May for medical treatment with the help of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).

    Since then the puppet regime has been refusing to allow her to return to her home in the Karpass peninsula and assume her duties as a teacher.

    CNA EC/AP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1500:CYPPRESS:04

    [04] Cyprus harmonisation process with EU

    Nicosia, Oct 22 (CNA) -- Finance Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou said today Cyprus must achieve high harmonisation levels with the "acquis communautaire" by April 1998.

    The European Union is expected to start membership talks with Cyprus in spring 1998.

    Speaking to senior government officials responsible for promoting the island's harmonisation process with the European Union (EU), Christodoulou pointed out that by the end of the year the officials should meet two main goals:

    First, to identify and minimise the points of divergence between the acquis communautaire and the reality in Cyprus.

    Second, to identify the issues on which the Republic of Cyprus will seek a special agreement or a transitional period, before total harmonisation.

    The Finance Minister said "harmonisation costs", and referred to the island's Customs Union process, which by its first phase of stage two, cost the island's economy 170 million pounds (330 million US dollars).

    Christodoulou urged the senior officials to accelerate the harmonisation process, in order to weaken the arguments of those in the EU who are sceptical about Cyprus' accession, because of its political problem.

    The Cypriot Minister said the civil servants can, and will achieve the goal of high harmonisation levels, which is extremely important for Cyprus.

    Cyprus signed an association agreement with the European Community in 1972 and a Customs Union agreement in 1978. In July 1990, it applied for full membership of the European Union.

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