President Nikos Christodoulides on Tuesday night said, “we must do everything possible to put an end to the occupation of our homeland”.

Speaking at the opening of the exiled Morphou municipality’s new headquarters in Aglandjia, her expressed his hope to see Cyprus reunited and for it to become “a place of peaceful coexistence for all its legal inhabitants”.

“We would all be especially happy if there was no need to inaugurate this beautiful building, far from our beloved Morphou and the rest of our occupied lands,” he said.

However, he said, given the state of affairs are as they are, “until we achieve this highest goal, until the blessed day of return, we have a duty and an obligation to ensure the smooth and efficient administrative operation of our occupied municipalities and villages.”

He said the municipalities and villages in exile are a “cohesive link with their citizens, who are scattered not only throughout free Cyprus, but also abroad”.

He then turned his attention back to the Cyprus problem, offering a “sincere promise” that “despite all the difficulties and challenges, we will do everything possible to create the conditions for the resumption of talks and for the resolution of the Cyprus problem on the basis of the agreed framework.”

He added that there is “no other choice”, and that “we will never and cannot come to terms with the present state of affairs and we will never, ever accept the division of our country.”

With this in mind, he said, “despite the difficulties, problems, and challenges, we have a specific plan and strategy, we know which direction we are headed in, we are doing everything possible to achieve the goal of resuming not just meaningful talks but achieving a solution.”

Touching on the matter of the forthcoming local elections on June 9, he said the government’s goal is “the upgrading of local government so that it becomes more efficient, more citizen-friendly, with more citizen-friendly services.”

He noted that the exiled Morphou municipality, like all exiled municipalities and villages, have been exempted from the sweeping local government reforms, and thus will see their elections take place in the same fashion as every election since they were exiled.

He was keen to stress his hope that the elections for exiled municipalities see high turnouts, warning that “a small turnout at the polls will not send positive messages at all.”

“I am sure you understand the importance, the need, and the messages which will be sent in relation to … the Cyprus problem, for there to be massive participation in the elections,” he said.