Republic of Cyprus comemmorates the fallen during the 1974 Turkish invasion

The Republic of Cyprus seeks a just, viable and functional solution to the Cyprus problem, which will liberate our country and allow our people to live together in security and prosperity, said the Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment Minister Petros Xenophontos during a memorial service for the fallen during the 1974 Turkish invasion, which took place on Thursday at the Apostle Varnavas Cathedral in Nicosia, in the presence of President Nikos Christodoulides, House of Representatives President Annita Demetriou and state and political parties representatives.

As Xenophontos said in his commemorative speech, 49 years since the bloody summer of 1974 “we have an obligation towards all those who sacrificed themselves for the justice and freedom of our country, to join forces in the common effort, with vision, determination, but also with prudence, in order to remove the current deadlocks”.

“As the Republic of Cyprus, we seek a just, viable and functional solution. A solution that will liberate our country and allow our people, after 49 years of continuous efforts and through historical compromises, to live together in security and prosperity”, he stressed.

“This is the legacy we have inherited and this is the direction we have to follow. This is our unpaid debt and our obligation to our heroes. May the memory of those who died in 1974 for the freedom of our country be eternal. We owe them the fight for the freedom of our country”, concluded Xenophontos.

Moreover, in statements after the service, Greek Deputy Defence Minister Nikolaos Hardalias, who represented the Greek Government, said that “we do not forget for a minute the painful consequences of this violent invasion. We do not forget that 49 years later, 37% of our island remains under Turkish occupation.”

He added that Athens and Nicosia are working in coordination to reunite the island, to find a viable, just, functional solution based on the UN Security Council resolutions, which, he said, should ensure the withdrawal of the occupying troops and, above all, should free the Cypriot people from anachronistic guarantees.

“We are working feverishly and I think there will be progress in the next period,” Hardalias concluded.

Earlier in the morning a memorial service was held at Makedonitissa Tomb – a military cemetery and war memorial – in Nicosia, to commemorate the fallen army officers and soldiers during the Turkish invasion.

Present at the ceremony were President Nikos Christodoulides, Archbishop of Cyprus Georgios, House President, Annita Demetriou, other officials, party and other organizations’ representatives. The Greek government was represented by the Deputy Minister of National Defence, Nicholas Hardalias, and the Hellenic Parliament by its First Deputy Speaker Ioannis Plakiotakis.

Many relatives of the heroes who sacrificed their lives to defend Cyprus’ freedom also attended the ceremony, during which President Christodoulides and Hardalias laid wreaths. Moreover, participants observed a one minute silence while the national anthem was played.

In statements to the media after the ceremony, Archbishop Georgios said that the main message of this anniversary is that no matter how many years pass we will not give up on our homeland or accept the faits accomplis of violence, but we will seek to free our country.

House President Annita Demetriou told the media that we must remain vigilant and remind ourselves as well as the European and the international community of what is going on in Cyprus for 49 years now. She stressed that “we have no other choice than to work tirelessly in order to be able to reunite and free the country.”

First Deputy Speaker of the Hellenic Parliament Ioannis Plakiotakis said that the Turkish invasion constitutes a clear violation of human rights that has been condemned by the international community in its whole, adding that Cyprus and Greece aim in coordination and with commitment to abide by the international legality to the solution of the Cyprus problem on the basis of the UN Security Council decisions and the EU acquis.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.


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