President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades expressed on Tuesday the wish that one day Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots will be able to honor together the International Women`s Day, celebrated every year on the 8th of March.
Speaking at an event at the Presidential Palace organised for the International Women`s Day, the President said he hoped that one day, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots will celebrate this day together, noting that “we have a common origin” and that our “priority should be to overcome the division of Cyprus” and allow “our children and grandchildren to live under conditions of peace”.
The President also referred to the Cyprus talks that were interrupted in mid February by the Turkish Cypriot side, expressing the hope that soon the problems will be overcome, problems, which were caused due to an `unnecessary and absolutely unacceptable, under the circumstances, decision of the House of Representatives”.
This `unfortunate` issue, he said, should not have led to the interruption of the Cyprus dialogue.
`On the one side I consider the Parliament`s position as unfortunate but on the other side I consider the stance of the Turkish Cypriot leader as totally unjustified. I do not know if this is his own will or imposed from outside due to the referendum in Turkey or Turkey`s domestic needs” the President stressed.
Noting that the Greek Cypriot side shows understanding for the concerns of the Turkish Cypriots, he said that the Turkish Cypriot side should also act in the same manner.
The solution of the Cyprus problem, he went on to say, will not create winners or leave losers behind.
He added that in order to achieve a peaceful coexistence there must be mutual respect and the state must be functional.
Referring to the government`s actions to promote gender equality, he said that despite the economic crisis that Cyprus went through, the government managed to further reduce the wage gap between men and women, from 16.2% in 2012 to 14.2% today.
Despite the fact, he said, that the percentage today is better than the EU average (16.3%), the government continued its efforts and in the past years `we were able to promote specific measures and policies in the right direction`.
He also referred to a series of legislations prepared or promoted by the government in order to further protect and strengthen women`s rights.
The Republic of Cyprus, an EU member since 2004, has been divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion which resulted in thousands of refugees, hundreds of missing persons, dead and wounded. UN – led talks between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities resumed in May 2015 with a view to reunite the island under a federal roof. The talks were interrupted in mid February by the Turkish Cypriot side, which demands that a decision passed by the Cypriot Parliament relating to a 1950 referendum on union with Greece is revoked, claiming this indicates a shift in Greek Cypriot goal of a federal solution. The amendment notes that there will be a very brief reference to the referendum at schools.
Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades has described the House decision as wrong and called on the leader of the Turkish Cypriot side, Mustafa Akinci, who walked out of the talks, to return to the negotiating table to discuss pending issues with a view to reaching a mutually acceptable agreement to reunite the country.