By Jean Christou
PRESIDENT Nicos Anastasiades hopes that the current international interest in the Cyprus issue would help create prospects for a solution, he said in his address to the nation to mark the island’s 54th anniversary of independence.
In his speech on Tuesday evening, Anastasiades paid tribute to the EOKA fighters who made independence possible in 1960, and those who later defended the Republic in the wake of the Turkish invasion in 1974.
He said he hoped that the current international interest in the Cyprus issue would help create prospects for a solution.
“Addressing our Turkish Cypriot compatriots, I would like to send the message that, while they should consider our sincere wish and determination for finding a solution, they should not expect that it would ever be possible for us to accept a solution that will not meet the expectations of the Greek Cypriots, or that will make the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots second-class citizens of the EU,” he said.
“At the same time, I call on the Turkish government to respond and contribute substantially, through specific actions, to the effort made for the solution of the Cyprus problem.”
Anastasiades called for the 54th anniversary to be “the beginning of a new era.
He also referred to the harsh economic conditions the island was undergoing
“We now bear the cost of longstanding problems, the system’s problems, the indecisiveness and fear to take responsibility in the past, as well as political weaknesses, wrong strategic choices and prejudices that led our country on the verge of destruction,” he said.
“It is time to acknowledge our mistakes, before the people, through self-awareness, self-criticism and courage… to acknowledge the reasons why our country went from a place of prosperity, stability, security and safety to being on the brink of economic but also national bankruptcy.”
Anastasiades said he was certain that the island could overcome the obstacles and return to conditions of growth and progress, free from the ills of the past.
“We are working towards transforming Cyprus into a modern, reliable and European country, country that will be playing a key role in the very important and sensitive area of the East Mediterranean, a country that will lead the effort for cooperation, peace and stability,” he said.