By Staff Reporter
REMEMBERING the mass killings by the Ottomans was the duty of the entire humankind, President Nicos Anastasiades said on Friday, as he called on Turkey to accept it had committed genocide.
“The recognition of such events under no circumstances reflects the positive role that nations play or can play in the future in international affairs,” Anastasiades said in a speech at a ceremony in Yerevan, Armenia, marking the centennial commemoration of the massacres. “It is indeed high time to recognise historical facts as this would pave the way for the normalisation of relations with neighbouring countries, and would undoubtedly contribute to world peace.”
Anastasiades welcomed Armenian President Serz Sargsyan’s moderate stance.
Sargsyan said on Wednesday he was ready to normalise relations with Turkey, two months after he withdrew peace accords from parliament, blaming a Turkish lack of political will to end 100 years of hostility.
Speaking ahead of Friday’s centenary of the mass killing, which is at the heart of the countries’ animosity, Sargsyan said there should be no preconditions in restarting the peace process and would not insist the Turks accept they committed genocide.
Cyprus was the first European country in 1975 to have recognised the Armenian genocide.
“The presence of each one of us here today aims at keeping alive the remembrance of this despicable act, by paying tribute to the millions of lives lost a century ago, and constitutes our collective obligation to make known “urbi et orbi” that impunity cannot go unpunished,” Anastasiades said.
The two countries were both victims of impunity, he said, and it was no surprise that they put our faith on international law, peace, the respect of the sovereign right of peoples to decide their future and the respect of human rights.
“Our united presence is also a call for an act of consciousness. It is our duty to not turn our back or act in defiance of the tragic reality and a historical fact,” he said.
The president was accompanied by House Speaker Yiannakis Omirou, as well as MPs Marios Garoyian (DIKO) and Giorgos Varnava (EDEK), MEP Eleni Theocharous and the Armenian representative in the House, Vartkes Mahdessian.
Anastasiades also took advantage of the opportunity and discussed the Cyprus issue and the commencement of negotiations during the meetings he had with the presidents of France, Russia, Armenia and Serbia, said government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides.
The meetings with François Hollande and Vladimir Putin were especially important concerning the Cyprus problem and the bilateral relations, the spokesman said.
With Hollande, Anastasiades also discussed issues concerning Europe, Cyprus’ economic programme and the two countries’ relations, Christodoulides said.
During the meeting with Putin, the Cyprus problem, the Ukrainian crisis, the economy and Cyprus-Russia relations were discussed, he said.
Meanwhile, in Nicosia, a march was held from the centre of town to Armenia street last night, where hundreds gathered at the genocide memorial, including representatives of local political parties who laid wreaths.
Today, the community will be hosting its annual blood donation in the main hall of the Nareg school in Nicosia, from 4 to 7pm. The event is open to all blood donors.