The National Federation of Cypriots in the UK staged a rally on Sunday in London to demand an end to Turkey`s military occupation of Cyprus` northern third, with Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou, as the main speaker, expressing hope that the Turkish side would show goodwill and pave the way for a solution.

At the rally in Trafalgar Square, Stephanou also referred to the deadly explosion of munitions at the Evangelos Florakis Naval Base, the shock wave of which destroyed the island`s major power plant and caused extensive damage to nearby communities, noting that responsibilities must be taken and that “in the mourning and pain, we all need to find the strength to work to address the problems, and we will.“

Stephanou referred to the 1974 coup and the Turkish invasion, and pointed out that efforts for a solution have stumbled on the intransigence and negative stance of Turkey.

“Our efforts for a solution must be based on principles and at the same time be realistic,“ he said, adding that the aim is to agree on a bizonal bicommunal federation, which the Greek Cypriot side is dedicated to.

He noted that progress in talks to reach a settlement has only touched some of the core issues of the problem, and that the Turkish side`s stance does not leave room for further progress.

Stephanou said that during the recent meeting in Geneva between the UN Secretary General and the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, the UN chief suggested the intensification of the talks, which President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias is willing to do in a constructive manner.

Other speakers were Peter Droussiotis President of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK, MP’s Sir Alan Meale, Jim Sheridan, Matthew Offord, MEP Antigoni Papadopoulou,  Charalambous Pittas Mayor of Morphou and Christakis Paschalides President of the Association of Refugees in Cyprus.

Photos: Peter Pendayiotis

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