Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades has stressed that at this point in time there is no need for grand rhetoric but rather for great decisions to be made always on the basis of the people`s best interest.

He appealed to everyone to join hands in order to turn Cyprus into a country which will be an example of Christians and Muslims living together in peace.

President Anastasiades was addressing an inauguration ceremony for a memorial built in honour of Pissouri village residents who rose up against British colonial rule.

Referring to the ongoing UN brokered Cyprus talks which aim to reunify the island divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion and subsequent occupation of its northern third, he said that so far “we have been able to achieve convergences, to improve provisions even of the 1960 Constitution, in many areas, so that we can create the prospects of ensuring (the survival of) Hellenism in future, ensuring freedom of movement, freedom of abode, freedom of property, freedom of exercising a profession wherever any Cypriot decides to.”

At the same time, he continued we are working so that each constituent state will have its own legislative and executive powers, not by abolishing the central government but by protecting the rights or either or both communities.

No one is asking, and no one is allowed to ask us to deny our national origin, our Greek education, our faith in our religion or any traditions we follow according to the dictates of our history, he added.

What is now a necessity is for the spirit of Hellenism to wish to peacefully co-exit with every other element which constitutes the people of our country, he said. Our long history, he pointed out, has shown that through peace we have achieved so much more and that war and division has not been the answer.

President Anastasiades appealed “at these crucial times, for all of us to join hands”.

He assured that he knows what to fight for in the ongoing talks. I know the concerns and worries of Greek Cypriots and I will fight for them in every possible way and if they are not safeguarded then Greek Cypriots will not be blamed.

He also said that he tries through logic to understand the concerns expressed by Turkish Cypriots and what he asks for is for them to also understand the concerns of Greek Cypriots.

Northern Cyprus is occupied and I don`t think it needs further protection, he said, adding that those who suffer from the occupation are the Greek Cypriots and they are the ones concerned by the presence of Turkish troops. This is why, he explained, that we insist that there can be no more guarantees or guarantors nor the presence of any troops.

He stressed that what we seek is to have a modern, European state which through the principles and values of Europe, through the guarantee of all human rights, all citizens with no exception Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots enjoy the benefits of freedom, of a modern country and who will not be lacking in any area from the rights enjoyed by other European citizens.

This is not the time for grand rhetoric, President Anastasiades stressed, “but rather the time when great decisions must be made on the basis of all our people`s best interest.”

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