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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 97-06-17

Cyprus Press and Information Office: News Updates in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>

News Update

Tuesday, 17/06/97


CONTENTS

  • [01] Russia says missiles will come unless Cyprus is demilitarised
  • [02] Burns says Holbrooke is preparing team
  • [03] Kranidiotis in US for talks on Greek-Turkish relations


[01] Russia says missiles will come unless Cyprus is demilitarised

Cyprus' Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, who is currently in Moscow, met yesterday with Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeni Primakov.

During the meeting the two men discussed the Cyprus problem as well as other bilateral issues.

Mr Primakov said that Russia would like to see a speedy solution to the Cyprus problem on the basis of UN resolutions and reiterated his country's readiness to play a decisive role to ensure the success of the UN Secretary- General's mission.

On his part Mr Kasoulides thanked Mr Primakov for Russia's steady and constant support in the Cyprus problem, particularly for his efforts as a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council.

He briefed the Russian Minister in detail on the forthcoming New York talks and on President Clerides and the Cyprus government's determination to contribute to their success.

The Russian Foreign Minister also accepted an invitation to visit Cyprus, the date of which will be set later.

Moreover, according to a Reuters despatch from Moscow, the Russian Foreign Minister told reporters yesterday after his talks with Mr Casoulides, that Russia would go ahead with its sale of an anti-aircraft missile system to the Cyprus government unless the island was declared a demilitarised zone.

"The contracts have been signed and missiles will be shipped,'' Primakov said.

"There will be no retreat", he added, referring to strong pressure on Cyprus from the United States and Turkey to scrap the purchase of the S-300 missile system which Washington believes could upset the regional military balance.

Primakov said that Russia placed high hopes on U.N.-led Cyprus peace talks due to start on 9 July.

"Russia supports the idea of demilitarising Cyprus and sending an international peacekeeping force there", Primakov said. "Of course this should be a background for profound and active peace talks aimed at reaching a political solution".

[02] Burns says Holbrooke is preparing team

US State Department Spokesman Nicholas Burns said on Friday (13.6.97) that US Presidential Emissary on Cyprus Richard Holbrooke has begun to assemble a small team and hoped to be in a position soon to announce the US' ambassadorial-level co-ordinator for Cyprus.

He said this person will work on a full-time basis with Holbrooke, who will be working on a part-time basis.

He reiterated that Holbrooke would not be attending the United Nations sponsored talks due to be held on 9 July in New York, but probably plans some more direct involvement afterwards.

"This problem is not going to be resolved in the next few weeks. It may not be resolved in the next few years. So we want to have a deliberate approach. We want to work in concert with the United Nations, as well as with Sir David Hannay of the United Kingdom, who is also a special negotiator and a very accomplished diplomat".

Moreover, commenting yesterday on the Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov's statement that the contracts for the missile system ordered by the Cyprus government have been signed and that the missiles will be shipped, Mr Burns said that the position of the United States on the issue has not changed.

"We believe that Cyprus' purchase of SA-10 or S-300 missiles represents a setback to diplomatic peace efforts. Secretary Albright reiterated this view when she met with Foreign Minister Kasoulides on June 6th".

He added that the US has raised this concern at the most senior levels of the Russian government consistently over the last couple of months.

"We have been told in very clear terms by a very honourable person, the president of Cyprus -- a man who has kept his word always to the United States -- that none of these parts would be imported for 16 months. That would take us to the summer of 1998. We have no evidence to the contrary -- no evidence that missile parts have been introduced, missile parts that are components of this SA-10 system", Mr Burns added.

He reiterated that just as the US does not believe it is wise to introduce a missile system into the Eastern Mediterranean, they think it is objectionable and unwise for Turkey to threaten any kind of military action against Cyprus.

"We have said so publicly. We have told the Turkish government privately about this. We mean what we say. Turkey ought not to threaten Cyprus".

[03] Kranidiotis in US for talks on Greek-Turkish relations

According to an Athens News Agency despatch, the Greek Foreign Under- secretary Yiannos Kranidiotis is in Washington for talks on the Cyprus issue and Greek-Turkish relations with prominent Clinton administration officials and members of the United States Congress.

His scheduled contacts include his US counterpart Thomas Pickering, members of the Senate and House Foreign Relations Committees.

ANA reported that in an interview with the international TV network CNN yesterday, Mr. Kranidiotis said that a settlement to the Cyprus problem constituted a prerequisite for the normalisation in Greek-Turkish relations.

He also expressed the view that now there existed an opportunity for resolving the problem through the European Union's decision to include Cyprus in the next phase of enlargement, underlining that the US and the EU had the responsibility of helping in order for a just and viable solution to be found.


From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/


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