REMARKS ON THE 4OTH ANNIVERSARY OF CYPRUS' INDEPENDENCE
REMARKS OF THE AMBASSADOR OF CYPRUS TO THE UNITED STATES,
MRS ERATO KOZAKOU-MARCOULLIS
ON THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE INDEPENDENCE OF CYPRUS OCTOBER 1, 2000
It is with great pleasure that I welcome all of you this evening to our celebration of the 40 years of Cyprus' Independence.
For a country with a 9000 years of history and civilization, forty years are just a tiny fragment of that long historic passage, yet the only period of self rule and independence. During the rest of its millennial existence Cyprus was under the sovereignty or occupation and rule of other powers, which were prevalent at the time in the area and the world. So, you will agree with me, that this anniversary of freedom for the people of Cyprus is worth celebrating!!!
Cyprus emerged from the British Colonial rule in 1960 as an underdeveloped country. Today, as a sovereign nation, Member of the International Community, Cyprus has a most successful economic performance, with a modern economy, with dynamic services, industrial and agricultural sectors, a very advanced and high quality infrastructure and a per capita income of $15,000, placing her among the high income developed economies.
These achievements truly represent an economic miracle, bearing in mind the devastating effects on the economy as a result of the 1974 Turkish invasion and the occupation of 37 percent of the country.
I am talking, of course, about the forcible division of our country, which has caused so much pain and suffering to the people of Cyprus for the past 26 years.
Despite the continuation of such a longstanding problem, Cyprus has always cooperated in all efforts to find a peaceful solution that would reunify the island and the people and would make Cyprus a prosperous home for both communities.
Unfortunately, the other side has not shown the same political will for a solution. For them, the status quo of the forcible division of the country and the people is the solution. They demand the acceptance of so-called new realities, which are none else than the occupation, the ethnic separation, the importation of settlers, the continuation of the agony of the relatives of the missing, the destruction of our civilization. Such realities we have never and we shall never accept.
Our goal and our top priority is the reunification of our country and our people. We have done everything in our power to reach this fundamental objective. We have committed ourselves to fully cooperating with the United Nations and all others engaged in the effort to reach the objective of the establishment of a federation, on the basis of Security Council resolutions.
With that goal in mind, the government of Cyprus submitted an application for membership to the European Union in 1990, being convinced that the EU process would act as a catalyst for the reunification of the country and people and that membership itself would bring about a better, a more prosperous Cyprus for our children, a whole and free Cyprus, ready to face the challenges of the new century and the new millennium.
During the past ten years we have seen a dramatic transformation of the international political climate with democratization on a larger scale, the reunification of Germany whose 10th anniversary was celebrated yesterday and many intensified peace efforts that brought positive developments in many parts of the world.
This new climate that has emerged and continues into the 21st century and the 3rd Millennium, makes us feel optimistic that it is inevitable for Cyprus to be affected by these important changes. Because it would be unthinkable to contemplate that Cyprus would remain the only exception in the world of a country whose people should remain forcibly separated because they have a different religion and they speak a different language.
To achieve the goal of reunification we need the active support of the international community and particularly of the United States of America, whose strategic interests would also be served from a solution of the Cyprus problem, so that peace and stability would prevail on the island and the entire region of the Eastern Mediterranean.