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Cyprus pays tribute to those killed in 1974 Turkish invasion
2006-07-20 12:32:38

Nicosia, Jul 20 -- Cyprus paid tribute today to those killed 32 years ago, during the 1974 Turkish invasion and subsequent occupation of the island's northern third.

A memorial service for the army officers and soldiers killed during the invasion was held this morning at the military cemetery at Makedonitissa Tomb in Nicosia.

The ceremony was attended by Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos, House of Representatives President Demetris Christofias and other officials as well as representatives of the associations of those who fought during the invasion and relatives of those killed.

Greek Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Theodoros Kassimis and Ambassador of Greece to Cyprus Demetrios Rallis were also present.

Wreaths were laid after the ceremony.

The official memorial service was held at Faneromi Church in Nicosia.

Speaking at the ceremony, Cyprus Minister of Foreign Affairs George Lillikas said that the Greek Cypriot side ''desires a solution of the Cyprus problem as soon as possible but will not sacrifice the solution's quality and viability at the altar of time.''

''We will in no case accept a solution which will make the Greek Cypriots second class citizens and offer intervention rights to a third country or will place the Republic of Cyprus under custody,'' Mr. Lillikas said, adding that ''the solution must secure the rights and freedoms of all legitimate inhabitants of Cyprus and must be balanced, functional and viable.''

Referring to the commencement of Turkey's negotiations for accession to the EU, Mr. Lillikas said Cyprus' consent was ''not unconditional'' but was given after securing ''a certain framework of obligations, which Turkey is obliged to fulfill so it can continue its accession course smoothly.''

Those who desire to help Turkey to stick to its EU orbit must convince it to respect its obligations,'' Mr. Lillikas said, adding that Cyprus' stance towards Turkey's EU course depended on Turkey itself.

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