The Committee of the Occupied Municipalities condemned on Monday the unilateral declaration of independence by the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime, set up 33 years ago in the northern third of the island, following Turkey’s military invasion in 1974.

The Chairman of the Committee and Mayor of the occupied municipality of Famagusta Alexis Galanos reiterated today at a press conference their will “to fight for a Cyprus settlement, that will end the Turkish occupation and the Turkish guarantees, provide for the return of refugees to their ancestral homes and the restoration of human rights and basic freedoms of the people” of Cyprus.

“Each one of us, leaders, elected representatives and people should take responsibility and face the great challenge before us, so as to be prepared for the next day, whether a decent and functional solution is achieved, which will be put before the people (to decide), or whether the effort does not bear fruit” he said, adding that whatever the outcome, the Committee has an extremely important role to play.

Galanos noted that with the resolutions 541/83 and 550/84 the UN Security Council denounced the declaration of the illegal regime and called on all the states not to recognize it. “But none of these has been taken into account by Turkey or anyone else” he said.

The Mayor of the occupied Famagusta said that the EU must understand that the land occupied by Turkey illegally is also its own land and that a full EU member is in danger of extinction or annexation.

He said that a potential agreement on the Cyprus issue must provide for the withdrawal of all Turkish occupying forces and illegal settlers and restore the territorial integrity and the sovereignty of Cyprus.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Anastasiades and Akinci have been engaged in UN-led negotiations since May last year, with a view to reunite the island under a federal roof.

Among the 39 Cypriot Municipalities, 9 are under Turkish occupation since 1974.

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