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24 July, 1998
Greece yesterday expressed its dissatisfaction over statements by a US White House official regarding the Cyprus issue, saying they were "unacceptable".
"The Cyprus problem is one of invasion and occupation of a large part of the island republic by the Turkish army," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said.
"This is what is being accepted by the international community, and what constitutes the basis of United Nations' resolutions and its framework for a settlement of the problem," he added.
Mr. Reppas was commenting on statements by White House spokesman Mike McCurry that the Cyprus issue was a problem of "conflict" between the two communities on the island.
In Washington on Wednesday Mr. McCurry was invited to clarify whether the Cyprus problem was one of "invasion" or of "conflict" between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities on the island.
He replied that the issue was one of "conflict," underlining that this was the "right definition".
"If there is a conflict it is between the rational and irrational, justice and lawlessness, legality and tyranny. It is a conflict between 'Attila' (the codename of the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus) and the international community, in which the United States also belongs," Mr. Reppas said.
"The government wants to believe that the United States does not wish to take the place of the United Nations or to monopolise the international community's interest in efforts to settle the Cyprus problem," he said.
Replying to a reporter's question, Mr. Reppas said that US State Department special coordinator for Cyprus, Thomas Miller, was not scheduled to meet with Greek government officials in the near future. Mr. Miller arrived in Cyprus yesterday afternoon for talks with the island republic's government.
In a related development, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos har-shly criticised the US administration yesterday over its stance regarding the Cyprus problem, according to reports.
The Greek FM said that US President Bill Clinton made several promises during his pre-election campaigns regarding a solution to the 24-year Cyprus problem, none of which have today been fulfilled. Reports said Mr. Pangalos referred to a "grand lie" on the part of the US administration, adding that Washington had in the past exercised pressures on Turkey, which however, proved fruitless. He said the US has now switched its pressure towards Greece.
Mr. Pangalos was speaking at a seminar attended by some 40 visiting expatriate Greek politicians, all members of the World Hellenic Interparliamentary Union.
Mr. Pangalos also referred to a scheduled visit in Athens by Mr. Miller, as well as an interview by the US diplomat with the Athens morning daily "Kathimerini".
The Greek foreign minister asked whether there was any reason for him to meet with the visiting US diplomat after reading, as he said, about Mr. Miller's opinions from the paper. He also noted that things have now "reversed", with diplomats now giving i nterviews instead of politicians.
Referring to Turkey, Mr. Pangalos emphasised what he described as a lack of democracy in the neighbouring country, while rejecting claims of an Islamic danger and stressing that the Turkish people had nothing to do with Islamic fundamentalism.
"It is a form of danger-mongering, particularly maintained by Turkey's military leadership for obvious reasons," he said.
He also stressed that Turkey's attitude was not an issue that should only concern Greece and Cyprus, but all the countries of the west and the southeastern Mediterranean.
"We shall be led to great ills if the tactic of threats and the use violence is encouraged," he said.
Further, in reply to questions, he reiterated that any Turkish action against Cyprus would signal Greece's involvement.
Finally, Mr. Pangalos also spoke of US weapons continuing to be sent to Turkish-occupied Cyprus, inspite of US federal law specifically forbidding such exports. He emphasised that the US Congress has been misled for 10 years on the issue.
On his part, Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos criticised Washington over its pressure to cancel the deployment of the Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft missiles by the Republic of Cyprus, as well as the German foreign ministry for its recently issued travel advisory cautioning travellers to Cyprus. He said Bonn was functioning in an auxiliary fashion to a unilateral Turkish action against Cyprus, even before the Russian missiles were installed on the island.
He also described the German action as "phenomenal" and reminiscent of an "eastern bazaar".
Further, he laid particular stress on the dangers posed by the planned construction of a nuclear power plant near Turkey's southern coast, adding that Ankara was in a situation of a "latent nuclearisation of its arsenal."
He pointed out that all countries which have acquired the particular type of nuclear reactor from Canada in the past have since proceeded to produce nuclear weapons.
Source: Athens News Agency