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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-12-27

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Political parties - S300 defence missile system

  • 1300:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Political parties - S300 defence missile system

    Nicosia, Dec 27 (CNA) -- President Glafcos Clerides will fly to Athens tomorrow to discuss with Greek Premier Costas Simitis whether or not to go ahead with the deployment of a defence missile system ordered by the Cyprus government in 1997 in a bid to boost its air defence.

    The two leaders will meet on Tuesday and examine the issue taking into consideration the positions of the island's political parties and in the light of two resolutions on Cyprus approved by the UN Security Council last week.

    In its resolutions the Council urges Secretary-General Kofi Annan to pursue mediation efforts between the two communities in Cyprus and to secure a "staged process" of reduction of troops and armaments on the island.

    The President has repeatedly stated that the final decision on the Russian-made S300 system will be taken by the National Council, his advisory body on the Cyprus problem.

    The National Council discussed the issue in an emergency session on Thursday, that agreed the President should visit Athens to consult with the Greek Premier.

    In statements political party leaders appeared with differing views on whether the S300 should be deployed on the island or not, but most underlined that any decision should be taken together with Greece as it affects both countries.

    Ruling conservative Democratic Rally Party President Nicos Anastasiades has been quoted as saying that the conditions which existed when the order was made are different to what they are today.

    He also said his party takes into consideration the two resolutions on Cyprus approved by the Security Council and the fact that the American President, the British Premier and the European Union Presidency have expressed their support to them.

    Anastasiades said any decision on the S300 should be taken jointly with Athens and underlined that all consequences should be taken into consideration.

    Left-wing AKEL Parliamentary leader Andreas Christou has said the party will hand its positions on the issue in writing and underlined that "the decision should be taken together with Greece" as the S300 issue also affects Athens.

    The opposition party politician stressed that any decision taken should back efforts for the reduction of tension on the island and for a political solution to the Cyprus problem.

    In a joint defence pact agreed between Nicosia and Athens in 1993, binds Greece to protect Cyprus in the event of a new Turkish offensive against the island, which has been divided since Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory in the summer of 1974.

    The initial reaction of the Democratic Party and House of Representatives President Spyros Kyprianou to the resolutions was that "they do not change the situation" which made the government decide to purchase the S300.

    Kyprianou also questioned why US President Bill Clinton expressed his support only to one of the two resolutions, which refers to the reduction of tension on the island.

    In a written statement socialist EDEK party leader Vassos Lyssarides, said that the S300 should be deployed here as "conditions have not changed nor have the preconditions set been met."

    Lyssarides, who's party participates in government, said the Security Council resolutions are not satisfactory and described statements of support made by world leaders as "Christmas wishes" with no commitment for concrete measures.

    Nicosia has said that the decision to deploy the S300 would be reconsidered if stalled talks for a settlement in Cyprus resume and progress is achieved or if negotiations for the reduction of troops and armaments, leading to demilitarisation, get underway.

    United Democrat party leader George Vassiliou has stated that even though the two resolutions may not totally satisfy the wishes of the Cypriot people "we have to accept them".

    Noting that the international community has sent a clear message for the reduction of tension and arms as well as the importation of high- technology weapons, Vassiliou said "we must clearly express out support to the UN."

    Vassiliou, a former President of the Republic who also participates in the Clerides government, said that the Greek Cypriot side must stress that Turkey should also reduce its illegal military presence in Cyprus.

    Eurodemocratic Renewal Party President Alexis Galanos has called for a referendum before any decision is taken, so that the people of Cyprus can decide on the fate of the S300.

    The New Horizons Party supported that if President Glafcos Clerides does not bring the defence missile system here he must resign because "he will not have met his pre-election promises."

    The S300 missile system was in the centre of February's pre-election campaign.

    CNA MA/MK/1998
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