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Christofias: Turkey must abandon Euro aspirations...
2003-04-20 15:46:44

Nicosia, Apr 19 (CNA) -- Cyprus House of Representatives President, Demetris Christofias, stressed here today that Turkey ''should abandon its European aspirations'' if it continues to be an occupation force and prolongs the division of Cyprus.

Addressing an extraordinary session of the House of Representatives on the occasion of the visit to Cyprus by Greek Prime Minister and European Council President, Costas Simitis, Christofias reassured the Greek Cypriot side will continue working towards a Cyprus settlement, noting that now that the vision of accession is being implemented, our desire to live together with our Turkish Cypriot becomes even more ardent.

Commenting on Simitis' visit, Christofias said it is "symbolic" and comes only two days after the signing of the Accession Treaty to the European Union. "It underlines the unabated interest and wholehearted solidarity which the Prime Minister, the Greek government, the leadership and people of Greece express to Cyprus and its people", he said.

During the difficult times of the occupation and the de facto division, Christofias said, "Greece has provided firm support and undisputable refuge in securing the present and future of our people".

He thanked the Greek political leadership, the Foreign Minister, the Greek government and the people, and paid special tribute to Cypriot Yiannos Kranidiotis, the late Alternate Foreign Minister of Greece, in Cyprus' European course.

"With the signing of the Accession Treaty to the EU, Cyprus fulfils the great ambition of its people. The forthcoming accession of the Republic of Cyprus to the Union will implement one of the two fundamental, strategic aims which we have set as a country, during difficult times, especially for small and weak countries", Christofias said.

"Undoubtedly accession opens up a new era for our people, opens up new prospects and brings us before unique challenges. It will require great work and great effort to implement the obligations which we undertake to harmonise with Europe's acquis", he added.

"State and people, we will work hard together to respond to our obligations", Christofias pledged.

"Unfortunately, the main strategic aim, that of getting rid of the occupation and reunification of our country and people, under a bizonal, bicommunal federation umbrella, has not been achieved despite the keen efforts of the last years", Christofias remarked.

The House President said this has not been achieved, despite the good will exhibited by the Greek Cypriot side over the years and this is due to Ankara's and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's negative stance and their insistence on "the division of the sovereign and united Cyprus, and the creation of two separate "sovereign states"" on the island.

"The philosophy of the Turkish side which prevents a solution to the Cyprus problem is contrary to all UN resolutions and agreements which the Turkish Cypriot leader had signed", Christofias said.

He said that accession to the EU was viewed as a lever to promote a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem, given Turkey's aspiration to enter the Union too.

"The time has come for Turkey to realise that if it continues to act in the same manner on Cyprus, if it continues to remain an occupation force and prolong division, it will have to abandon its European dreams", said Christofias.

He reiterated the "willingness of the Greek Cypriot side to continue working hard and with consistency to implement the main strategic aim which is a solution to the Cyprus problem".

"In the light of the latest Security Council resolution 1475, we are ready to continue efforts to find a solution, negotiating on the basis of the Annan plan, with the aim to reunify the island, lift the occupation and secure the fundamental human rights and freedoms of the people of Cyprus, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots", Christofias pledged.

He also said that now that the vision of accession is being fulfilled, "our insistence to reunify our country becomes even greater, our desire to live together with our Turkish Cypriot compatriots in a united, European Cyprus, becomes more fervent."

"We will achieve this aim with the common work by Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots who believe that this country is ours. We will achieve this with the help of the EU and with your help, Greece's help. We will achieve this with our insistence on principles and on fairness", the House President concluded.|

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of the island's territory.



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