Wednesday, December 30, 1998 Published at 02:03 GMT
Text of President Clerides' statement
Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides announced on 29 December 1998 that Russian-made S-300 surface-to-air missiles will not be deployed in Cyprus.
The following is the text of the president's announcement, read out by a Cyprus TV announcer.
I [have] reached the decision on the non-deployment of the missiles in Cyprus and agreed that we negotiate with the Russian Government their possible deployment in Crete.
I feel the need to underline that the sole criterion in reaching this decision was the interest of the Cypriot people and the wider interest of Hellenism.
I accept that my decision deviates from a previous decision on the deployment of the missiles in Cyprus. However, I do not accept that today's decision was the outcome of submission to pressure, threats, and blackmail.
It was merely the outcome of a responsible examination and a realistic assessment of the current conditions, factors, and prospects that directly or indirectly affect the course of our national issue.
I neither reproach nor criticise as being wrong the decision made for the purchase and deployment of the S-300 missiles.
However, I would not be a responsible leader if I obstinately insisted today on the decision made then, knowing that the implementation of that decision would harm the substantial and lasting interests of Cyprus and Greece.
I respect the views that are contrary to my decision. I know I will be the target of acute criticism due to my decision.
However, I [have] never hesitated in adopting a decision that I believed served the interests of the country, which I always set above personal and political observations.
I believe in the correctness of the decision I made today and I am completely certain that with this decision our national issue and our national interest are effectively served.
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