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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-01-06

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] British Exercises - Akamas
  • [02] Chinese - Murder - Trial
  • [03] Greek Ambassador - Cyprus - Missiles

  • 1125:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] British Exercises - Akamas

    Nicosia, Jan 6 (CNA) -- Britain has reduced the initial number of soldiers taking part in the military exercises it intends to conduct Thursday and Friday this week from around 300 to less than 200.

    British officials have also indicated that the current two-day scenario may be shortened, in an apparent shift because of increasing opposition against the exercises which take place in the north-western peninsula of Akamas, an area of outstanding natural beauty.

    On its part, the Cyprus government has said consultations are continuing with the authorities of the Bases to find an alternative site for the exercises.

    "The exercises are scheduled for the 7-8 January but we retain the option to reduce their duration, the current scenario can be modified," Rob Need, spokesman for the two military British Bases Britain maintains in Cyprus, told CNA.

    He also said that "now about 200 soldiers are scheduled to go to Akamas" but pointed out that "the commanding officer has the final say on the scenario, which is not rigid, and it is up to him whether 50 or 100 go."

    He explained that the exercise also takes place at Dhekelia (on the south-east), in RAF (Royal Air Force) Akrotiri and Episkopi Garrison on the south coast, all of which are part of the sovereign British area.

    Akamas is part of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus but according to the 1960 Treaty of Establishment, Britain has retained the privilege to conduct military exercises in Akamas.

    "We have to give notification to the local police and the Cyprus government about the numbers involved in our exercises so that they know how many police officers will have to stand by to control the access to the exercise area," Need explained.

    The initial notification was for the worst case scenario for a battalion size exercise of 300 but that number has now been reduced to around 200, with the possibility of sending a lot less than that.

    A spokesman for the British High Commission has said that the Bases authorities will seek compensation amounting to 50,000 Cyprus pounds (about 100,000 US dollars) through legal means for the damage caused to British property (ammunition dumps, toilets and warning signs) during Sunday's protests in Akamas.

    The spokesman welcomed Tuesday's meeting between British diplomats and representatives of the Committee seeking an end to British exercises in Akamas, saying such meetings are "much more productive and constructive" than protests.

    Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides has said the government is trying to find an alternative location for the exercises but so far this has not been possible as the Bases have rejected sites the government has proposed as being unsuitable.

    Environmentalists have warned that any new installations in Akamas by the British will also be demolished and called on the Cyprus government to stop paying lip service to the demands of the British to exercise since Britain itself has not fulfilled its own obligations under the 1960 Treaty to safeguard the independence and territorial integrity of Cyprus.

    CNA MM/FZ/AA/1999
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1125:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] Chinese - Murder - Trial

    Nicosia, Jan 6 (CNA) -- Two Chinese nationals, detained in connection with the murder of two of their compatriots in December, will stand trial for premeditated murder before the Assize Court.

    Hua Cheng Bu and Wang Yang were arrested a week after the bodies of two Chinese students were found in a ravine in the Troodos mountain range.

    They are due to stand trial on February 1. The court ordered they continue to remain in detention until the trial.

    CNA MM/AA/1999
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1250:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] Greek Ambassador - Cyprus - Missiles

    Nicosia, Jan 6 (CNA) -- Greece's Ambassador to Cyprus, Kyriakos Rodousakis, believes that the momentum, created by recent developments, should be exploited to the full through diplomatic means.

    He also said he understands the reaction in the aftermath of a decision not to deploy the Russian anti-aircraft missile system S300 in Cyprus and stressed that Greece continues to be committed to defending Cyprus in the event of a fresh Turkish offensive.

    Rodousakis appeared unwilling to confirm reports that the Russian missiles will be deployed on the Greek island of Crete, saying this is a matter for the General Command to decide.

    In an interview with the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (CyBC), Rodousakis said "Greece and Cyprus are working together to make the best use of all the possibilities and recent developments relating to the Cyprus problem and the reduction of tension and military equipment."

    He expressed the conviction that there is "sincere disposition" on the part of various circles to fulfill their commitment to work in the direction of Turkey for a reduction of military equipment in Cyprus and an overall settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    Reiterating Greece's unwavering support for Cyprus, the Ambassador said "Our weapons purchases take Cyprus into account and I wonder why Greece's intend to defend Cyprus is being questioned."

    "It would be naive for Greece not to adjust its planning throughout the Aegean and the wider region. Even if we wanted to, we could not abandon the joint defence pact," he stressed.

    Cyprus and Greece agreed in November 1993 on a joint defence pact providing Cyprus with Greek air, sea and land cover should Turkey decide to launch a fresh offensive against Cyprus.

    Asked if the Russian S300 missiles will be deployed in Crete, Rodousakis noted that official statements from Athens stated the missiles would be deployed in Greece.

    Crete was named as a possible location, he explained but pointed out that "this is a technical matter which concerns the military General Command."

    "Are we going to repeat the mistake done in Cyprus and tell everybody where each weapon will be placed," the Ambassador wondered.

    CNA MM/AA/1999
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    CNA ENDS
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