By Kyriacos Kyriacou-Nicosia
President of Greece Karolos Papoulias has spoken of the need to end the Turkish occupation of Cyprus and to reach an acceptable, comprehensive, viable and functional solution of the Cyprus problem, while US Senator Robert Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and US Representative Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, wrote a letter to US President Barack Obama, urging the US Administration to increase attention to the goal of reunifying the divided since 1974 eastern Mediterranean island.
“A just a viable solution”
Papoulias message was communicated today to an event in the city of Pafos to mark the 40th anniversary of a military coup against the first President of the Republic of Cyprus, the late Archbishop Makarios, engineered by the military junta then ruling Greece, which was followed five days later by the Turkish invasion, resulting in the illegal occupation of 37% of the Republic’s territory and its de facto division.
Cyprus remains occupied, Papoulias said, noting that this is a harsh truth. However, he added, the other side of the coin is the determination of both the Republic of Cyprus and of Greece never to accept the illegal occupation and division of the island. Ending the occupation and finding an acceptable, comprehensive, viable and functional solution to the Cyprus problem, in the framework of UN Security Council resolutions and Cyprus` EU membership will constitute elements which will promote peace and stability in the region as whole, he stressed.
These are necessary prerequisites for the full normalisation of relations between Greece and Turkey, as well as for Turkey`s EU accession course.
On his part, in a written statement, Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos noted that without democracy and the rule of law a country will be led to a dangerous path in its foreign, security and defence policy. Referring to the ongoing UN led negotiation process between Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, he said that Greece supports the common goal for “a just and viable solution”, adding that such a solution will be possible if it is approved by the Cyprus people by way of referendum.
Congressmen urge Obama
In the letter written to US President Barack Obama, Senator Robert Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and US Representative Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said that “reunification would allow Cyprus to fully realize its potential as a stable and predictable democracy and a regional leader anchored in the western security architecture that is capable of bolstering European energy security.”
“Forty years after the violent conflict that divided Cyprus, we urge you to increase the United States’ attention to the longstanding goal of reunifying the island and restoring the human rights and basic freedoms of all its citizens,” they noted. They recalled Vice President Biden`s statement during his recent visit in Cyprus that “…it`s long past time – 40 years – that all Cypriots are reunited in a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation.”
Cyprus condemns July 1974 coup
Cyprus paid tribute today to all those who perished defending the Republic during the 1974 military coup against the democratically elected President of Cyprus and the Turkish invasion which followed five days later, 20th April.
The wailing of sirens was heard at 8.20 local time, the exact time when the coup started. A church service for those killed during the coup was held this morning at Saint Constantinos and Eleni church in Nicosia, in the presence of Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades. Wreaths were laid at the tombs of those killed defending the Republic. In his statements following the church service, President Anastasiades said that the 40th anniversary of the coup brings back memories of events which everyone hopes will never happen again.