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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.

BBC Monitoring (, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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