Press Release About the Deployment of Aspide Missiles in South Cyprus June 4, 1999


It has been reported in the Greek Cypriot press that the final contract on the purchase of Italian-made Aspide missile system by the Greek Cypriot administration of South Cyprus will be signed in the following days and that the missiles will reach the island in August this year.

The Greek Cypriot administration, having engaged in a massive arms build-up for many years with the encouragement of Greece and having constructed military air and naval bases in South Cyprus for the use of Greece, had in fact declared that it would proceed with its armament programme. Press reports about the deployment of Aspide missiles in South Cyprus, once again shed light on armament efforts in the context of the Greek/Cypriot joint military doctrine, the underlying mentality in this regard and the resultant threats and dangers in terms of peace and stability in the eastern Mediterranean.

The deployment of sophisticated Aspide missiles in South Cyprus will constitute a new threat and destabilizing element vis-a-vis the security of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and of the region. That Turkey will not tolerate acts endangering the security of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is obvious and it is also beyond and doubt that counter measures will be taken to this effect.

The ongoing policy of hostility pursued by the Greek/Greek Cypriot front against the Turkish side and its negative implications over security and stability in our region are evident. We have been explaining our views on this matter to friendly countries and to our allies. In this connection, Italy bears a special responsibility, both as a NATO country and as the producer of Aspide missiles. In view of UN Security Council resolutions and OSCE Documents governing arms transfers, Italy is under the obligation to refrain from selling sophisticated arms to Cyprus. We expect Italy to reevaluate its position and to fulfill its international undertakings.