Tuesday, December 29, 1998 Published at 19:03 GMT
Cyprus decides against missiles
The Russian missiles are in the same class as US Patriot missiles
The Greek Cypriots have decided not to deploy Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles on the island - a move that Turkey said it would have resisted with military force.
Turkey, which supports the breakaway Turkish Cypriot north of the island, said placing the missiles on Cyprus would have changed the balance of power on the island.
President Clerides denied the decision was the result of pressure.
He said he now expected the international community to deliver on promises to promote a settlement between the two communities in Cyprus.
Mr Clerides said he had taken the responsibility of the decision himself because there had been no unanimity among Greek-Cypriot politicians in the National Council.
Cyprus's internationally recognized Greek-Cypriot Government had come under enormous international pressure not to deploy the S-300 missiles it ordered from Russia early last year.
The BBC Correspondent in Cyprus, Chris Drake, said Greek Cypriots would have mixed feelings at the decision: relief at the reduction in tension and a feeling of humiliation and defeat.
Drawing international attention
Our correspondent says the aim of ordering the missile system two years ago was to goad the international community into taking dynamic action to end the division of the island.
Instead, the missiles themselves, rather than the problem of a divided island, became the main focus of international mediation.
Promises of action by the international community have resembled routine annual declarations rather than anything providing cause for optimism.
Our correspondent says the proposed deployment succeeded in drawing world attention, but now the Turkish Cypriots and their staunch mainland backers in Ankara have become progressively more demanding.
Prior to the missile deal talks were held on an inter-communal basis. But now the Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, insists on full recognition as a separate state.