South Australia`s Premier Mike Rann has said he will continue to provide strong and practical support in the pursuit of a reunited, federal Cyprus, with full restoration of human rights of all refugees, despite criticism from Turkey and the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime in occupied Cyprus.
Rann was speaking to Greeks and Cypriots of Australia in Adelaide, where he and Cyprus President Demetris Christofias laid the foundation stone for the new hall of the building of the Cypriot Community of South Australia.
According to a press release, issued here today, President Christofias, on an official visit to Australia, expressed the gratitude of the people of Cyprus for Australia`s stance on Cyprus.
South Australia`s Premier praised President Christofias’ commitment to a settlement, saying that it has resulted in the engagement of the international community.
Rann added that the President’s ability to engage the former leader of the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime in the negotiations has yielded good results, expressing hope for an agreement. He said, however, that the change in leadership of the Turkish Cypriot community has blocked a number of chapters, on which substantial progress had been achieved.
The Australian official said that he is aware of President Christofias’ vision for the future of Cyprus as a country of peaceful co-existence, common prosperity and creativity of all Cypriots, adding that he applauds his commitment and support his vision.
Rann noted that his willingness to speak out on the Cyprus issue nationally and internationally has resulted in criticism from Turkey and the illegal regime in occupied Cyprus.
He added however that he considers these attacks an honor for him and that he will continue to provide strong and practical support in the pursuit of a reunited, federal Cyprus, with full restoration of human rights of all refugees. He also said that he has never spoken against the Turkish Cypriots or the Turkish people.
President Christofias stressed that his goal is to reunite Cyprus and end the unacceptable occupation that violates international law, the principles of the UN Charter and every sense of justice.
President Christofias expressed the gratitude of the people of Cyprus for the Australian stance in favor of their struggle for freedom.
“Our Turkish Cypriot compatriots are not our enemies, they are our brothers and I’ve been blamed for saying that. They are Cypriots like us and that is why they are protesting today against the presence of thousands of settlers, a Turkish effort to change the demographic composition of the Cypriot population”, said Christofias.
He added that the wall of Nicosia will fall sooner or later.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Talks are currently underway between the leaders of the two communities to reunify the island.