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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-01-29

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] Cypriots back missiles deployment
  • [02] Earth tremour hits Cyprus
  • [03] Government probe into allegations on missing

  • 0945 :CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Cypriots back missiles deployment

    Nicosia, Jan 29 (CNA) -- The overwhelming majority of Cypriots believe the deployment of Russian surface-to-air missiles will boost the peace effort for a political settlement in Cyprus, according to a recent opinion poll.

    Cypriots also believe that, despite an international outcry about the arrival of the missiles, they will be deployed on the island, the poll, conducted earlier this month for the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation, said.

    The poll, which comes just over a week before the presidential elections, said Cypriots do not exclude the possibility of a hot incident in Cyprus with Turkey.

    Nearly 60 per cent of Cypriots believe the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system, the government ordered in January 1997, will be deployed here and only 26 per cent think it will not.

    Sixty-eight per cent of Cypriots consider that the presence of the missiles would help efforts for a solution of the Cyprus question.

    Another 22 per cent think such a move would be bad for the peace effort.

    Just over 50 per cent of the people of Cyprus believe there is a distinct possibility that Cyprus and Turkey may get involved in a hot incident.

    On the other hand, 58 per cent believe it is more likely to see a hot incident between Greece and Turkey.

    The Russian missiles are expected to be deployed in the summer of 1998 and the government has always stressed the weapons will not be used unless Cyprus is attacked.

    Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot regime have chastised the decision of the government and threatened to take reprisals, warning about the possibility of a pre-emptive strike.

    The international community has expressed concern about the deployment of the missiles, noting that such a move would increase tension on the island and the region.

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

    CNA MM/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1110:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] Earth tremour hits Cyprus

    Nicosia, Jan 29 (CNA) -- An earthquake measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale was felt early this morning in the southern and western coastal towns of Limassol and Paphos. No injuries or damage were reported.

    According to the Geological Survey Department, the epicentre of the tremour, at 0039 local time, was 60 kilometres out at sea, south-west of the port-town of Limassol.

    The tremour was felt in Limassol, Paphos and Stroumbi.

    In 1996 an earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale was felt throughout the island. Around 50 persons were slightly injured and many houses in Limassol and Paphos were damaged.

    A total of 67 people were killed in earthquakes in the past 100 years in Cyprus, which is situated in the second major seismic zone in the world.

    CNA EC/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1200:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] Government probe into allegations on missing

    Nicosia, Jan 29 (CNA) -- The Cyprus government will investigate allegations that some 100 Greek Cypriot civilians were killed and buried in a mass grave during the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said here today.

    "We have already instructed the various government departments, including our embassy in Bonn, to make all the necessary action to collect information on the basis of which we can move ahead on the matter," Kasoulides said before today's cabinet meeting.

    "We take this case very seriously," he added.

    The Minister was reluctant to reveal whether information contained in the press report, which surfaced yesterday in Germany, matches information the Turkish Cypriot side handed to the Greek Cypriot side about missing persons last week.

    The two sides exchanged information about the location of graves of persons listed as missing for the first time since the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, a development brokered by the UN top envoy in Cyprus, Gustave Feissel.

    Pressed by journalists on this topic, Kasoulides said the information included in the recent report is not included in the information the Turkish Cypriot side gave the Greek Cypriot side.

    "We had received some information in the past relating to this specific issue before it became public knowledge and everything will be looked into, " he concluded.

    Humanitarian Affairs Commissioner Takis Christopoulos told CNA the information needs to be investigated and noted that it appears to be more truthful than similar information that emerged in the past.

    "If need be, we are ready to cooperate with anybody to get to the bottom of this," he added.

    On his part, chairman of the Committee of Relatives Missing Persons, Nicos Theodosiou said similar information has seen the limelight in the past and stressed that "any such information made available should be investigated thoroughly."

    Theodosiou told CNA past reports of this kind often proved to be unreliable or untrue.

    He refrained from disclosing any information about how the report will be investigated.

    Feissel, said he had not seen the report and therefore could not comment on it.

    According to a report in the pro-Kurdish daily Oezguer Politika, some 100 Greek Cypriot civilians, mostly elderly men, women and children, were killed and buried near the capital Nicosia, during the 1974 Turkish invasion.

    A 45-year-old Kurd, Mustafa Ongan, told the paper he was serving in the Turkish army at the time of the invasion, was brought to Cyprus with his regiment.

    He says Turkish and Turkish Cypriot army chiefs ordered the killing of the fleeing civilians, who were later buried in a mass grave.

    Ongan, an eyewitness, is seeking international protection in exchange for detailed information about the location of the grave and says his admission of the circumstances of the killings 24 years afterwards is the result of emotional torment he has been suffering ever since.

    A total of 1.619 Greek Cypriots and Greeks were listed as missing soon after the Turkish invasion and occupation of Cyprus' northern third in 1974.

    CNA MM/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    CNA END
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