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President Christofias Announces Cancellation of Military Exercise
2008-10-16 13:14:57

Nicosia, Oct 13 - The President of the Republic Mr. Demetris Christofias announced on Monday his decision to cancel the annual military exercise of the National Guard called “Nikiforos.”

Speaking to the press upon his arrival to the Presidential Palace following his meeting with the Turkish Cypriot leader in the framework of UN-led direct talks on a Cyprus settlement, President Christofias replied to a question concerning the military exercise as follows: “I will inform you on what has been decided by the Cyprus Republic and the Presidency of the Republic. The Council of Ministers had decided quite some time ago that we suggest to the Secretary-General the postponement or the cancellation of ‘Nikiforos’ and request that the same happens for “Tavros”.

President Christofias also stated, “If our aim is to have a good and well equipped army and boast that we are armed, to have two states and be able to defend ourselves at the so called borders of the two states, then that is one issue. If the aim is that Cyprus, an EU member, should in its entirety be reunited and foreign troops leave, and a solution must be found with the Turkish Cypriots so that they [Greek Cypriots] can return to their homes and properties in a fair and viable solution, then that is another issue.”

“For this reason,” President Christofias continued, “we should arm ourselves in the field where we are most powerful, meaning the diplomatic field.” President Christofias said that if a solution will be peaceful through negotiations, “then the measures we are taking, I believe, arm us better in this field.”

On the cancellation of the exercise, President Christofias said it has been the cabinet’s view for a month now, adding “the President made a proposal to the UN Secretary General and also made this proposal in public at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.”

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