President Nikos Christodoulides on Saturday said it was time for diplomacy in order to break the stalemate on the Cyprus issue.
Christodoulides, who on Friday presented a plan to EU leaders for increased involvement of the bloc in the Cyprus issue in order to move it forward, was speaking after a parade in Nicosia to mark Greek Independence Day.
The day began with church services islandwide attended by various government officials, followed by a parade in the capital that marched past the Greek embassy.
Christodoulides said Greece’s struggle for independence, which it gained in 1821, contained many timeless messages.
The most important thing, however, was to take the necessary messages, and lessons and transform them into today’s reality in the way the country moves forward, he added.
“The message that I keep, especially at the present time, is that after 400 years of slavery, the Greeks did not come to terms with the Ottoman occupation and this is the message that I also want to send, that we have not come to terms with the occupation, we have not come to terms with partition,” he said.
“We are very well aware of the facts, the difficulties, the problems, we are deeply concerned about the possible continuation of the illegal state of affairs, the unacceptable status quo, and we will do everything possible to turn this concern into initiatives, concrete initiatives,” he added, stressing that “we will do everything possible to liberate our country, to reunite our homeland”.
Christodoulides said that following his election as president, his government undertook a specific initiative, always in consultation and coordination with the Greek government.
The initiative, he said, “involves a mutual understanding and coordination that will be strengthened every day and cannot be negatively affected by any development”.
He added that “we hope that we will soon have concrete results, especially in terms of breaking the deadlock and resuming the peace talks, after the elections in Turkey”.
Asked how his proposal on the Cyprus issue was received in Brussels, the president said: “I mentioned yesterday that I am satisfied with everything I have heard in Brussels through my discussions with the presidents of the three institutions, with foreign leaders, either within the European People’s Party or the European Council”.
Meanwhile, earlier during the day, Labour Minister Yiannis Panayiotou in his march 25 address said that Christodoulides had been mandated by the people to strive for national unity, something which he considers to be a historical necessity.
The comment was made in a speech delivered at the Apostolos Varnavas cathedral in Nicosia.
“We are heading together towards the future, distinguishing the big from the small, the insignificant from the important and we face the country’s great challenges together,” said Panayiotou.
“We are working together for social cohesion and for the development of the economy, for the interest of the Republic of Cyprus,” the minister said.
Panayiotou pointed out that the biggest enemy was the one within “the bad version of our own selves”, describing internal division as a curse, something which Cyprus has historically paid a high price for, he said.
“It is the responsibility of all of us to preserve unity, which is necessary for us to win, to build and prosper.”
The minister also noted the similarities between Greece’s struggle for independence with their resistance against the Axis powers during the second world war, as well as Cyprus’ rebellion against the British empire.
“Because empires are mighty until they meet people who are determined to fight united for their freedom,” he stated.
“We have said enough about this effort. Now is the time for diplomacy and we have to let diplomacy carry out its task and hopefully there will be a result within a timeframe aligned with the completion of the Turkish elections,” he concluded.
Veteran fighters, students, scouts, and various organisations took part in parades islandwide on Saturday morning.