We need to concentrate not on defence plans but on equipping ourselves with courage for peace, President Nicos Anastasiades said on Saturday.
He was speaking after he received the salute of the military parade to mark the 56th anniversary of the declaration of the Independence of the Republic of Cyprus.
Following the parade in Nicosia, which also attended the Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos and the country’s political and military leadership, the president expressed his satisfaction and congratulated the National Guard for the excellent performance of the Armed Forces and also the sense of pride it conveyed.
Anastasiades also sent wishes to both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots for Independence Day.
“What we need is to focus our attention not on defence or any other plans, equipment and so on, but to equip ourselves with courage to find… the way of peace,” the president said.
Through the transformation of the Republic (post-settlement), president Anastasiades said, conditions will allow Cypriots to live in a modern state that will respect the values of the European Union and of the United Nations.
“Only through peace we can hope for better days,” the president said.
Kammenos said that Greece is supporting Cyprus to find a settlement that will provide for the departure of all occupation troops and the abolition of guarantees.
“Cyprus is a modern European state that requires neither mediators nor guarantors,” Kammenos said.
Earlier in the day, a religious service was held at the graves within the prison, where the president laid a wreath in honour of the 13 fighters of the 1955-1959 liberation struggle (EOKA) against the British rule, who are buried there. He also laid a wreath at the Presidential Palace at the statue of Archbishop Makarios III, the first President of the Republic of Cyprus.
Following the parade, president Anastasiades hosted a reception at the presidential palace for the diplomatic corps.
In their announcements to mark the day, political parties stress that Cypriots must continue their struggle for the end of the Turkish occupation and the reunification of the island.
Opposition parties Diko, Edek, the Citizens’ Alliance and the Greens are organising on Monday a joint event in Nicosia on the occasion of the anniversary of the Independence Day. All four parties agreed on the event’s theme to be the necessity of safeguarding the survival of the Republic of Cyprus in the event of an agreed solution.
In recent months, the so-called centre parties have demanded that any solution include a clause unambiguously stating that the reunified federal Cyprus is the “continuation of the Republic of Cyprus”.