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Cyprus transfers controversial S300 missiles to Greece
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08:24, December 20, 2007

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Cypriot and Greek defense ministers have signed an agreement to formally transfer to Greece the controversial Russian S300 missiles, which led to a regional crisis in 1998, according to local media reports on Wednesday.

Cyprus transferred the ownership of the S300 missiles in exchange for two other missile systems, TOR M1 and SUZANA from Greece.

According to the agreement signed on Tuesday, Greece will keep the surface-to-air defensive S300s under the deal signed by Greek Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis and his Cypriot counterpart Christodoulos Pashiardes in Nicosia on Tuesday.

Meimarakis said with such an important agreement they resolved a problem which had troubled Athens and Nicosia for many years.

The missiles were purchased from Russia in 1998 by then Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides but had to be moved to Greek island of Crete for safekeeping following huge pressure from arch foe Turkey and Turkish Cypriots in the north.

They feared that the Russian missiles, if deployed in Cyprus, would break the military balance in the region.

The crisis also led to the collapse of coalition government in Cyprus.

The Americans intervened and Greek government persuaded Greek Cypriots to store the S300 missiles in Crete.

"The agreement reached today, with all interested parties, settles a pending issue and integrates the weaponry systems into our defenses," the Greek minister said on Tuesday.

Source: Xinhua

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