|Monday, 18 February 2019|
Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 98-01-27
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
 Cyprus has a right to defend itself, says SpokesmanThe Cyprus government yesterday rejected Turkish threats over the Paphos air base, saying that Cyprus had every right to defend itself.
Government Spokesman Manolis Christofides said Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and Turkish officials were making threats just because Cyprus was boosting its defence.
"Turkey has brought tanks and other unprecedented military armaments to the island. We have a duty to take basic measures for our defence. The joint defence dogma with Greece is our answer. Through it we will face all Turkish threats whatever they may be, wherever they may come from. It is the common position of Cyprus and Greece", he added.
 Rubin comments on Turkish threats against Cyprus air baseThe US State Department Spokesman James Rubin yesterday said that Turkey, as a member of the UN, has a right to raise issues of concern before the United Nations.
Commenting on the new Turkish threats for air strikes on Cyprus against the - Paphos air base, he said the US was aware of the Turkish statements about putting before the UN Security Council concerns about the completion of this base, but added that "it's premature for us to comment, not having seen all the particulars".
"I can say this -- that we remain concerned in general about the increasing militarization of Cyprus on both sides of the cease fire line, and we urge all parties to avoid taking actions or making statements that result in increased tensions in the region and that detract from efforts to achieve a just and lasting peace on the island", he said.
Asked whether he believed the Cyprus government has the right to defend itself, Mr Rubin said:
"I'm not going to take the question any further, other than to say that if a statement is put before the Council, we, as a member of the Security Council, would have to react to that statement or position".
 No preconditions on start of accession talks with Cyprus, says EUBritain, current European Union (EU) president, and Greece yesterday dismissed claims by Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini that a Cyprus solution is a precondition for the start of the island's European Union accession talks.
Speaking before the EU Council of Ministers General Affairs Council in Brussels, where Mr Dini's statements had been made earlier, British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said "no such precondition" existed.
He reminded his European partners that at their Luxembourg summit, in December 1997, they decided to open accession talks with Cyprus in spring 1998.
Mr Cook also said the summit requested that the willingness of the government of Cyprus to include representatives of the Turkish Cypriot community in the accession negotiating delegation be acted upon.
Responding to Mr Dini's comments, Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos warned the Italian minister to be more careful with the content of his statements.
Later, Dini told the press that there are no preconditions for either Cyprus' participation in accession talks or for Turkeys' participation in the European Conference.
The Council at its meeting decided in favour of continuing contacts with Ankara to try and persuade Turkey to participate in the March 12 EU conference, on the basis of the Luxembourg conclusions.
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/