President Anastasiades: we are facing critical and defining developments for the future of Cyprus

President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades expressed hope that Cyprus will soon witness the end of the Turkish occupation of the island and the principles of law and peace will prevail throughout the island noting however that we find ourselves facing critical and defining developments for the future of our homeland.

According to a statement by the Presidency of the Republic, President Anastasiades, in his Easter message, conveyed his wishes for a Happy Easter to the people of Cyprus and “expressed the hope that Cyprus will soon witness the termination of the current unacceptable situation (the forcible division of Cyprus by Turkey through military occupation) and the prevalence of the principles of law and peace throughout the country for the benefit of all its lawful citizens”.

The President also referred to the recovery of Cyprus from the severe economic crisis experienced four years ago, pointing out that “due to the sacrifices of our people, the cooperation between the government and the parliament with the representatives of the employers and the employees, not only we managed to overcome the danger of collapse but also to register, today, the highest rate of growth among European countries and beyond.”

He noted, however, that “in spite of the acknowledged progress made, and the accolades as reflected in the reports of international rating agencies, by the IMF, the Eurogroup and other international economic organizations, we are not easing up” because we know that “there is much more that needs to be done in order to address the repercussions of the economic crisis that have been hurting the vulnerable groups of our fellow citizens, the unemployed young people and our small and medium businessmen.” And for that purpose, the President added, “we will continue our reform program in order to formulate a solid framework for a viable and stable growth; a growth that will take into consideration the needs of all the people and will satisfy the demands of a modern state.”

President Anastasiades further noted that “through the continuation of prudent fiscal policies and structural reforms we will not only strengthen our credibility but also additional economic growth.”

He emphasized that the government will also manage prudently “the program for the development of the natural wealth of the country with the ultimate aim to exploit it for the benefit of all the citizens, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.”

The President underlined, however, that “the prosperity of a country presupposes stability, peace and creative cooperation by all the citizens. And certainly the continuation of today’s unacceptable situation does not contribute to the full development of the potential of a member state of the European Union with Cyprus’ geographical position.”

President Anastasiades then referred to the ongoing efforts to achieve a comprehensive, lasting, functional and viable solution to the Cyprus problem based on international law, the basic principles and values of the EU and also the European acquis.

He added that, so far, the dialogue has produced convergences on important chapters but also highlighted differences related to fundamental principles for the creation of a modern state, such as issues concerning security, the functionality of the state, but also demands (by the Turkish side) that will serve the interests of third parties.

“My position was and remains that in order to achieve a solution acceptable by the people, we must establish conditions that will allow us to live in a well-organized European state without any dysfunctions or open wounds,” the President said.

He further underscored that “Cyprus, through a multifaceted foreign policy, has achieved strategic cooperation with all neighboring states and is now being acknowledged as a pillar of stability and security; a stability that will broaden the cooperation and will upgrade even further the role of Cyprus but also the prospects for the welfare of all the Cypriot people through the desired solution of the Cyprus problem.”

In concluding his message, President Anastasiades said that “we find ourselves before critical and defining developments for the future of our homeland. In order to address the challenges and to achieve our liberation from the occupation, universal unity is required.” It is time, he pointed out, “to prove creatively how much we love our homeland.”

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. UN-backed talks aim to reunite the island under a federal roof.

President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci met on Tuesday, after a nearly two-month break, after Akinci had walked out of the talks back in February.

Source: Cyprus News Agency