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Media Watch 2005

03 March 2005
Source: Cyprus Mail
Author: Jean Christou
Comment: The following editorial appeared in the Cyprus Mail of Nicosia on 3 March 2005.
‘As long as the arms belong to Turkey, we’re not doing anything wrong’ US stands firm on tanks delivery to north

US stands firm on tanks delivery to north

WASHINGTON yesterday said the transfer of US-made Turkish tanks to the north did not violate any post-1974 agreements on arming either side in Cyprus with American weapons.

US State Department Deputy Spokesman Adam Ereli has said there had been no transfer of US weapons to Cyprus' Turkish-occupied areas that would cause concern and violation of statutes.
”These are weapons that Turkey – that the government of Turkey has, the Turkish armed forces have, and that – to our knowledge, there are no transfers that have taken place or provisions governing transfers that have been violated. There have been no new developments that would lead us to conclude that something illegal or prohibited is taking place,” he said.

”They haven't transferred anything if they have control over the weapons, then they haven't transferred them; they've retained control of them.”

Ereli said if a government had signed a deal to buy weapons and operate weapons, and not to transfer those weapons to other governments, and then went ahead and transferred them, then the regulations on transfer of weapons would have been violated.

“If they have got the weapons and continue to maintain control of them and possession of them, and do not transfer them to anybody, then the regulations regarding transfer of weapons hasn't been violated. Our understanding is that in the case of the Turkish tanks, the Turkish government is still and – continues to have authority and control over those weapons,” he said.

”'In our opinion, there's been no transfer that's taken place that violates, that would cause concern, violation of statutes.”

Ereli said the US remained in favour of a peaceful solution in Cyprus as provided for under the Annan plan.

“That is what we believe provides the best solution for the problems in Cyprus. We think a historic opportunity was missed when that plan did not pass the referendum,” he said.

“And right now what we're looking at is ways to work to ease the economic isolation and the negative impact of the failure of that plan on northern Cyprus.

“Our commercial attaché is working, as I said, to further our policy of easing the economic isolation of northern Cyprus. That's the purpose of our engagement there.”"