Cyprus President: 1960 Agreements a blessing under the circumstances
Nicosia, Jan 13 (CNA)--Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos said here Wednesday that he considers the 1960 London-Zurich Agreements, which established the Republic of Cyprus, a blessing compared with the forceful division of the country following the 1974 Turkish invasion.
President Papadopoulos also said that the Greek Cypriots rejected a UN-proposed solution for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem because they could not tolerate the abolition of their state.
Speaking at the presentation of a book titled ''The legitimacy of the Cypriot state'', Papadopoulos said he had personally opposed the London - Zurich Agreements but, with hindsight and devoid of emotion, he can now say that ''these Agreements are a blessing if one compares them to what has ensued.''
''Anything is better than the Turkish invasion of 1974 and the forceful separation of Greek and Turkish Cypriots,'' he stressed, recalling that in the early 1960s the people of Cyprus, who had fought against British colonial rule, were overwhelmed with the idea of enosis (union with Greece) and needed time to reflect on the deal at the time, which he described as ''something better than union with Greece: this was independence for the entire people of Cyprus.''
He said that safeguarding the credibility of the Cypriot state is not a matter of personal choice, nor is it a matter of a routine obligation.
''This is the duty and the responsibility of the people and the leadership and meeting this obligation is a constant and demanding task, which is directly and decisively linked to the prospect of a successful outcome of our efforts for national and natural survival,'' Papadopoulos added.
He explained that the international recognition of the legitimacy of the Republic of Cyprus is the main reason that the Republic is today a full and equal partner within the European Union.
Meanwhile, in Britain, replying to a question on the 1960 Agreements at the House of Lords Baroness Simons said that the 1960 Treaty establishing the Republic of Cyprus and the Treaty of Guarantee, signed in Nicosia on August 16, 1960 are still in force and continue to be binding for the parties involved (Britain, Greece, Turkey and Cyprus)
Referring to the Cyprus problem, Papadopoulos said that the main reason the Greek Cypriots rejected the UN plan (the Annan plan) in the April referendum was because they could not bear the thought of seeing their state being dissolved.
''We have worked very hard to see the Republic being transformed through a new constitution into a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation but we have certainly not worked for the dissolution of the state or the birth of a new state of affairs,'' he stressed.
The rejection of the plan was not a rejection of a solution and reunification but it was merely a positive vote for the protection and the legitimacy of the Cyprus state, he said.