Turkey’s occupation of the northern part of Cyprus has no place in the 21st century, Slovak Speaker says

Turkey’s occupation of the northern part of Cyprus has no place in the 21st century, said on Monday Andrei Danko, the Speaker of the National Council of the Slovak Republic, adding that the Cyprus problem should have been solved a long time ago.

Danko met today with the President of the House of Representatives Demetris Syllouris, who is in Bratislava for an official visit. Speaking after a meeting with the Cyprus delegation in Bratislava Castle, the Slovak Speaker also said that no one in his country questions the importance of the Slovak contingent in the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).

Syllouris said from his part that during his meeting with Danko, as well as with the Minister of Defence Peter Gajdos, with whom he met earlier on Monday, he received assurances that Bratislava believes that UNFICYP must remain in Cyprus, also in view of Turkish threats in the Republic’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Speaking through an interpreter, Danko said that from his position, he always notes that the pain, the grief and the problems Cyprus is facing in the past years following the invasion of Turkey is a problem that should not exist in the 21st century and which should have been solved many years ago.

As the Speaker of the Parliament and as an official of my country, I believe that the problem of [Turkey’s] occupation, the Cyprus problem, should be publicized even more and with greater intensity, to become more widely known to world public opinion in order to have a solution, Danko went on.

He also said that none of the 5 mln inhabitants of Slovakia questions the importance of the presence of Slovak military personnel in the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus.

Furthermore, the Speaker said that Cyprus is a favorite destination for Slovak holidaymakers. Danko also remembered his visit to Cyprus, in December 2016, noting that it was the most beautiful official visit abroad in the four years he serves as Speaker of Slovakia’s National Council.

On his part, Syllouris said that they talked with Danko about the excellent relations between the two countries and discussed ways of enhancing cooperation even further, at EU, international and bilateral level.

The President of the House of Representatives expressed gratitude for the Slovak military personnel serving in UNFICYP and said that he received assurances from the Minister of Defence, with whom he met earlier, the former Minister of Defence who was present at the meeting, as well as from Danko that their position is that the United Nations need to stay in Cyprus, particularly now that Turkey is not just intransigent over a Cyprus settlement, but threatens moreover other parts of Cyprus’ domain, such as Cyprus’ EEZ.

Syllouris also said that they discussed tourism, education and trade, where the two countries can cooperate even further on a bilateral level. Our friendship is a fact and we agreed that our duty is to find more practical ways of cooperation he concluded.

During the meeting, the Slovak side expressed the position that Turkish provocations in the EEZ underline the need to maintain and further strengthen UNFICYP.

Signing the book of visitors of the National Council of Slovakia, Syllouris thanker the Speaker Andrej Danko for his invitation to visit the country. Cyprus and Slovakia, our two Parliaments and respective peoples, are connected with relations of admirable cooperation and unwavering and mutual solidarity, which are further enhanced and strengthened by our common European identity he wrote.

He noted finally that his visit to Slovakia reflects their commonly expressed conviction and will to stimulate and reinforce this cooperation to mutual benefit.

The President of the House of Representatives started his contacts on Monday morning with a meeting with the country’s Defence Minister Peter Gajdos. The agenda of talks at the Ministry of Defence included the Turkish provocations in the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus.

Syllouris, who was welcomed by a guard of honours, also visited a room exhibiting Slovak peacekeeping missions abroad, including that of UNFICYP, where Bratislava currently stations a force of 241 soldiers.

Signing the book of visitors at the Ministry of Defence, Syllouris wrote that Cyprus and Slovakia share common values and principles, on which their excellent relations and mutual solidarity are founded and reflected in the presence of the Slovak contingent in UNFICYP.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. The latest round of UN-backed talks took place in the summer of 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans Montana but ended without yielding results.

Ankara issued recently a navigational telex, announcing its intention to start drilling off Cyprus until September 3. The Turkish drill ship Fatih, accompanied by three service ships, is located almost 40 nautical miles west of the Akamas peninsula and 83 nautical miles from the Turkish coast. The area falls within the EEZ and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus.

Source: Cyprus News Agency