Cyprus Mail

Upgrade of Cyprus-France relations expected says minister

Defence Minister Charalambos Petrides at the service

After President Nicos Anastasiades’ visit to France an upgrade of the relations between the two countries is definitely expected, Defence Minister Charalambos Petrides said on Sunday.

In statements at a memorial service for the fallen in battle in Tylliria in 1964 in Pachyammos he said some news and some plans are expected to be announced soon.

Following the outbreak of intercommunal violence in December 1963, Turkish Cypriots had established a bridgehead at Kokkina in 1964, used to bring in arms, volunteers, and other material from Turkey.

Seeing the incursion as a major threat, the Cypriot government launched an attack, which prompted Turkey to retaliate with its air force bombing the area with napalm.

The battle ended after an UN-backed ceasefire was called.

Speaking at the service, Petrides remembered the “heroes who stood guard during the first organised military attack against the then newly formed Republic of Cyprus. It was a baptism of fire for the National Guard, which was only a few months old.”

Over 50 people were killed during the three-day stand off including 149 civilians.

On Saturday 26 buses carrying Turkish Cypriots went to the area for an event marking the same event at the Kokkina enclave. Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci was also there.

Petrides also said that with diplomacy and cooperation with foreign countries inside and outside the EU, the government remains committed to its goal of resolving the Cyprus problem.

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