President Nicos Anastasiades on Thursday apologised to the relatives of 13 men killed in a naval base munitions blast two years ago, as he acknowledged the state’s responsibility for the decisions and omissions that led to their deaths.
Speaking at a memorial service held at the Evangelos Florakis base to mark the two year anniversary, Anastasiades publicly apologised on behalf of the state to the relatives of the seven sailors and six firemen “for all the things it should have done but unfortunately failed to do, to protect its children.”
Anastasiades pledged that similar mistakes would not be repeated and that he would not allow such tragedies to be relived.
“July 11 is a milestone for the accountability of state leaders, but also in honouring those who voluntarily offered to sacrifice their lives to save the country’s reputation,” he said.
“The promise we need to give to the 13 heroes and their families, as a state, is that we will do everything possible not to repeat a similar event so we will never have to mourn the unjust loss of our children,” he said.
The president added that the anguish and bitterness of the tragic and unfair loss of 13 heroes, the majority of who were in their youth, will haunt everyone forever.
The president added that those killed were victims of irresponsibility and thoughtlessness of the state which was now humbled by their memory.
On Wednesday, the government declared those killed as heroes as a tribute for their sacrifice.
The cabinet decision said the men had put their love of their country above their life, as they sought to secure the Evangelos Florakis base.