Cyprus Mail

Neither the occupation, nor status quo acceptable, president says (Updated)

ΠτΔ – Μνημόσυνο ήρωα Μιχάλη Ολυμπίου
File Photo

There can be no accepting the Turkish occupation, nor can the current status quo be the future of Cyprus, President Nikos Christodoulides said on Sunday during a memorial service for the island’s first president Archbishop Makarios.

“In no way do we compromise with the occupation, in no way can the current unacceptable state of affairs be the future of our homeland. This is not the future we want to hand over to our children,” he said.

With “realism, determination and persistence”, he said there was a clear goal to steer away from any “unnecessary and counterproductive confrontations”.

“We fight with the sole goal of restoring human rights for all legal citizens of the Republic of Cyprus.”

Quoting Makarios, the president added: “Our struggle is not directed against the Turkish Cypriots. They are also its victims”.

Christodoulides said the aim was “through the path of cooperation and peace” to continue efforts to pick up the talks where they left off in 2017 on the basis of the agreed framework, relevant UN resolutions and EU principles and values.

“Forty-nine years later, Attila’s boot still tramples our soil. We still feel a tightness in our breast at the sight of the flag of the pseudo-state flashing every night on the occupied Pentadactylos. This shameful status quo must finally end,” he said.

“Ending the occupation and reuniting our homeland is the only option before us. We are working for a solution that is consistent with the principles and values of Europe and international law”.

In this respect, he said, a strong and united internal front would be indispensable, adding that the disastrous consequences of internal division, of barren confrontations only serve other purposes.

“Whatever the obstacles that the Turkish position for a two-state solution puts in our way, I repeat that we do not compromise with the occupation.”

Earlier, Government Spokesman, Constantinos Letymbiotis, who attended a memorial service for Makarios in Yeroskipou in Paphos told journalists that the visit by the two leaders to the CMP lab where the remains of the missing are identified, was a “first important step” that sent a humanitarian message.

He said the president had also sent a message to the Turkish Cypriot leader and to the UN Secretary-General for a joint meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York in September.

“At this moment, the proposal of the President of the Republic for a more active involvement of the EU can also significantly contribute to the efforts of the UN. The appointment of an envoy by the UN would also have a high added value, the spokesman said.

“It is important to remember, to always keep in mind that the current state of affairs cannot continue, the status quo is not acceptable and as a government we are determined to continue our efforts until a sustainable, peaceful, definitive resolution of the Cyprus problem, on the basis of the agreed framework is reached”.

Later, Christodoulides, speaking to the press said he considers a meeting with the UNSG would be decisive.

To an observation by a journalist that he was being strongly criticised by some for not hitting back at provocative statements from the Turkish side, he said this was a valid criticism but that he had consciously chosen not to respond.

“The Cyprus problem will not be solved through public statements or if I enter into a daily confrontation with Mr Tatar. You saw that during the visit (to the CMP) I consciously chose not to respond,” he said.

Christodoulides also said that he and the Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar had a short private discussion during the CMP visit but he did not wish to make public the content.

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