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Christofias should be honoured by the state, Akel says at memorial

ΠτΔ – Μνημόσυνο Πρώην ΠτΔ Δημήτρη Χριστόφια
Stefanos Stefanou addressing the church service on Sunday (CNA)

The fourth annual memorial service for former president, Demetris Christofias, was held on Sunday, attended by President Nikos Christodoulides and other officials.

Addressing the church service at the Ayia Sophia church in Strovolos, Akel leader Stefanos Stefanou paid tribute to Christofias and said he should be honoured in some way by the state as previous presidents had been.

He said Christofias, who was also a long-time leader of the communist party, before being elected, should be recognised as having been a man who “selflessly and with great patriotism gave his all for our Cyprus that he loved so much”.

“I believe that Demetris Christofias is also entitled to be honoured by the State, as all the presidents of the republic were honoured, even those politicians who did not hold the highest office were honoured, by naming public buildings, stadiums, gymnasiums, roads after them,” he said, adding that this is a request Akel has been making for a long time “but unfortunately it has not received a response”.

Christofias, elected in 2008 to a one-term presidency, is often remembered in the context of the events in the financial sector that led to the 2013 bailout and for the explosion at the Mari naval base that killed 13 and almost destroyed the electricity plant at Vassiliko in July 2011.

During his term, although there was little or no progress on the Cyprus talks, his government managed, with then Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, to open the busy crossing point at Ledra Street and to forming the bicommunal technical committees that have worked in some respect, most notably on cultural heritage.

Stefanou said the late president had achieved convergences with the Turkish Cypriot side on the Cyprus issue that remain a point of reference for international interlocuters and “all those who sincerely want and seek to achieve a solution”.

“For Mr Christofias, the solution of the Cyprus issue on the agreed basis and framework, was the goal of his life,” he said. “Mr Christofias left behind important, beneficial and valuable convergences for all of Cyprus. I hope they don’t get lost. History will restore much of what was unjustly attributed to him.”

Christofias, he said, “coming from the common people and regardless of the positions he held, remained throughout his life genuine, approachable, sensitive, honest and sincere”.

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