Cyprus to brief EU about American weapons in occupied areas
Washington, Feb 24 (CNA) – The Cyprus Republic will brief its European partners about the transfer of American-made weaponry from Turkey to the occupied areas of the island, over the past few days.
Defence Minister Kyriacos Mavronicolas has condemned the new Turkish provocations, which he described as contrary to efforts towards an early solution of the Cyprus problem. He noted that these actions aim at strengthening Turkey's military presence in the occupied areas but they also increase tension along the ceasefire line.
Mavronicolas said the government will send letters to its EU counterparts ''to expose this move abroad'' and invite Ankara to explain its stance with regard to the need to solve the Cyprus problem as this relates to its European aspirations.
The minister said that high tech US-made armaments, fully equipped, and a substantial number of personnel carriers were transported to the occupied areas in the past several days, when attention was focused on Sunday's so-called parliamentary elections.
He said the ship that had carried weaponry over the weekend has returned with a new cargo for the occupation army.
Responding to questions, he said available information indicates that this latest arrival of arms was not aimed at replacing existing military hardware.
Such moves to boost the Turkish occupation army in the recent past have not been matched by an equivalent reduction or the return of weaponry to Turkey, the Defence Minister said.
Replying to questions, Mavronicolas said there seems to be a contradiction in US policy in that Washington is constantly demanding the withdrawal of US-made arms the National Guard has but on the other hand Turkey maintains in the occupied areas masses of American arms.
''If there is some weaponry of American origin in the National Guard, it is old military hardware, whereas the weapons the Turkish occupation army has are modern and exclusively of American production,'' he said.
The minister said Cyprus has an obligation to raise this issue and point out this injustice.