The 11th of July 2011 has been one of the most tragic days in Cyprus modern history, says President Anastasiades

The 11th of July 2011 has been marked as one of the most tragic days in the modern history of Cyprus, the President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades has said, regarding the massive explosion at the naval base Evangelos Florakis, at Mari on the southern coast, in July 11, 2011. Thirteen people died and more than 60 people were injured during the explosion.

The huge blast occurred on 11 July 2011 when a number of containers, full of munitions, which Cyprus had confiscated from Monchegorsk, a vessel sailing from Iran to Syria in 2009 exploded. As a result of the explosion and the shock wave that followed, the nearby Vassiliko power station suffered extensive damage that led to power cuts for some time after the blast.

Speaking at a memorial event at the naval base Evangelos Florakis, at Mari, President Anastasiades said that we pay tribute and gratitude to the 13 heroes of the tragedy of July 11, 2011.

He added that the 13 victims of the blast, driven by a sense of responsibility, which is not derived from any governmental mandate or from any legal duties and obligations of their professions, defended their oath to service the society and defend the lives and property of citizens and the state.

The 13 heroes of Maris tragedy, putting their lives in the public interest and the love for their homeland, defended at the same time the social cohesion of that state by lifting the political and the administrative responsibilities on their shoulders, he pointed out.

President Anastasiades went on to say that the feeling of losing beloved persons becomes more intense when those persons lost their life on the duty and are victims of state malpractice.

Today is a day of remembrance and of profound consideration, which obliges us all to consider with respect the value of the sacrifice of these heroes, as well as our responsibility as a state, he stressed.

In his speech, President Anastasiades reiterated that the Government will continue to be on the side of the families of the victims by offering practical support, as the minimum obligation and recognition to the sacrifice of their own people for our homeland.

President Anastasiades referred to his own duty to continue work hard to keep Cyprus in a course of sustainable development. In the same context, while remaining committed to our national duty and having a conscience of historical responsibility, we have worked to achieve a viable solution to the Cyprus problem in Crans- Montana, Switzerland, he added.

The proposals we have submitted since the first day of the Cyprus Conference in Switzerland, taking into account the parameters of the Secretary-General, as well as the concerns of both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, were aimed at a functional, viable and stable solution on the benefits of all citizens. The intransigent stance once again demonstrated by the Turkish side, particularly on the question of guarantees, Turkish invasive rights and the Turkish troops in Cyprus, led once again to a deadlocks, he said

He noted that regardless the outcome of the Conference, our side will continue the struggle and efforts so as to create those conditions that will end the unacceptable occupation and will reunite our country.”

In the years that followed the blast, six persons, including two Ministers, were brought to justice. Four, including the then Minister of Defence, were given jail sentences in connection with the explosion on charges of causing death due to unreasonable or dangerous acts. The Minister of Defence was also found guilty of manslaughter due to neglect. The then Minister of Foreign Affairs was acquitted.

Source: Cyprus News Agency