Greek and Turkish Cyprio
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders have agreed to reduce tensions on Cyprus by removing military forces from a cease-fire line that divides the island, the State Department said today.
American envoy Carey Cavanaugh was assured also by Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides that none of the surface-to-air missiles his government plans to purchase from Russia will be deployed for 16 months, department spokesman Nicholas Burns said.
``This effectively defuses the crisis,″ Burns said.
Turkish officials had threatened to use force to keep the missiles out of Cyprus.
Burns reiterated U.S. opposition to the weapons deal but said Cavanaugh had made headway in his talks with Clerides and Rauf Denktash, the leader of the Turkish Cypriots.
In another move to reduce tensions, Cavanaugh raised with them the Turkish and Greek overflights of the island. He is due to take up the issue in Athens and then in Ankara with Greek and Turkish government officials.
Cyprus is effectively divided between ethnic Greek and ethnic Turkish enclaves. Backed by Turkish troops, who invaded in 1974, Turkish Cypriots have set up their own state.