President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades has said that his vision is the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Cyprus and the return of the refugees to their homes.

Speaking at an event on Sunday to mark the 40th anniversary of the coup and the 1974 Turkish invasion, organised at the Presidential Palace by the government and the political parties, President Anastasiades said the future of the country and its people would be brighter if the obstacles were to be overcome, leading to a federal Republic of Cyprus, where the acquis communautaire was applied across the whole of the island.

President Anastasiades said the Greek Cypriot side wanted a solution to be reached through a dialogue based on mutual respect, noting that respect meant respecting what had already been agreed on.

He said international law was being violated in Cyprus for forty years, despite UN Security Council decisions, noting that, through the event, the people and political leadership of Cyprus joined in deploring the Turkish occupation and demanding the liberation and reunification of their homeland.

The President pointed out that no one could compromise with the idea of division, adding that the main aim was a viable solution.

“We shall not accept the faits accomplis which the Turkish invasion has created,” he stressed.

President Anastasiades also referred to the support Greece always lends to Cyprus in efforts to reach a settlement, and was critical of the intransigence of the Turkish side which hinders the peace process.

“The extreme demands put forward by the Turkish side and its negative stance render an agreement impossible to achieve. The solution we are seeking does not take away human rights neither does it restrict the political freedoms of our compatriots, the Turkish Cypriots but aims at securing respect for the human rights of the Greek Cypriots as well,” the President pointed out.

He also said that there must be mutual respect during the ongoing peace talks and added “We have to honour and respect whatever we agree on between us.”

During the event, the escutcheon of the Republic of Cyprus above the entrance to the Presidential Palace was unveiled. The escutcheon was created by sculptor Yiannis Yianni.

Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. The latest round of UN-led peace talks began in February this year, following an agreement between the President and the leader of the Turkish Cypriot  community Dervis Eroglu, which makes it clear that the acquis communautaire must apply throughout the territory of the Republic of Cyprus and that any agreed solution must secure a single state, a single sovereignty, one international personality and one citizenship.

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