President of Cyprus Demetris Christofias has stressed that it is high time that Turkey abandons its communication tricks, blame games and threats and cooperates in a creative manner for a viable and functional solution of the Cyprus problem.

Addressing an event at the Presidential Palace, organized on the occasion of the tragic anniversaries of the coup and the Turkish invasion, on 15 and 20 of July 1974, respectively, President Christofias referred to the illegal visit of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus, saying that “the visit is not just illegal, it constitutes a provocation for the people of Cyprus, especially during this period”.

“We want to send a clear message to Erdogan. It is high time that Turkey abandons its communication tricks and its blame games on the Greek Cypriot side, to leave aside its cynicism and threats and cooperate in a creative manner to achieve a viable and functional solution of the Cyprus problem”, he stressed.

He underlined that Turkey, which allegedly wants a solution in Cyprus, seeks at the same time tight timeframes for a solution, to blackmail and to upgrade the so called state in the Turkish occupied areas.

Christofias denounced Turkey’s policy of illegally bringing to the island Turkish settlers, “ignoring provocatively the strong objections of the Turkish Cypriots who feel that as a community they are under extinction”.

Furthermore, he condemned Turkey’s policy to question the basis of the Cyprus negotiations, seeking to impose on the island a solution based “on a confederation or even worse”.

Turkey’s stance not only does not help efforts to reach a solution but creates serious problems for its EU accession course, he went on to note.

The only feasible solution in Cyprus is a solution based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation, the President said.

“The dilemma now is not federation or any other ideal but unreachable solution. The real question is federation or division and because division is a disaster for our country, federation constitutes the only real way out ”, he stressed.

President Christofias went on to say that “we make efforts to achieve a just, under the circumstances, viable and functional solution that will end the Turkish occupation and Ankara’s policy of illegally bringing to the island Turkish settlers”.

The solution, he noted, must reunite the country and its people on the basis of a bizonal, bicommunal federation as outlined in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, provide for a state with one and single sovereignty, international personality and citizenship. The solution must safeguard human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Cypriots, Christofias noted.

The ongoing UN – led Cyprus talks are the only way to reach a solution in Cyprus, President Christofias said, recalling that during the Geneva meeting on the 7th of July between himself, UNSG Ban Ki – moon and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, Ban had said that Cyprus talks are Cypriot owned and Cypriot led.

President Christofias said that in Geneva, the Greek Cypriot side had proposed the intensification of the Cyprus talks, expressing hope that the intensified process will yield the expected results the soonest possible.

“We expect the Turkish Cypriot side to fully align itself with the basis of the Cyprus talks, which will allow a productive dialogue to take place”, he said.

President Christofias expressed once more his readiness for a substantive discussion on all aspects of the Cyprus issue.

He reiterated that the firm position of the Greek Cypriot side is that an International Conference can only take place when the two sides are within a range of an agreement
and he recalled the three proposals he submitted in July 2010.

President Christofias said that there is a number of “national goals before us which will determine the future of our country”, adding that these goals are to reach a solution of the Cyprus problem, to face the economic crisis and the tragedy in the Naval Base Evaggelos Florakis on July 11th and to assume a successful EU Presidency during the second half of 2012.

“For 37 years now, every July, more than any other time of the year, our thought is with the thousands of dead, the hundreds of our missing persons, the thousands of refugees, the enclaved people, the wounded and those who suffered under the crimes of 1974”, he stressed.

Referring to the coup and the Turkish invasion in the summer of 1974, President Christofias said that “today we pay tribute to those who lost their lives defending freedom and the territorial integrity of our country”.

“We remain fully committed to the struggle for freedom and reunification of our country and our people. During this struggle we have the firm support of Greece, the Greek government, the Greek people and the Greek political parties, as well as the support of many friendly countries, which insist on defending the principles of international and European law”, he said.

Greece was represented at the event by Minister of National Defence Panayiotis Beglitis and members of the all-party delegation of the Hellenic Parliament.

In his speech, President Christofias also referred to the tragic events in the Naval Base Evaggelos Florakis, near Limassol, on July 11th, which led to the death of 13 people and knocked down the island’s main power plant.

“We are all devastated by the loss of 13 people who lost their lives in time of duty” he said, adding that the apologies to the relatives of the victims are not enough to comfort their pain.

He reiterated that any responsibilities regarding the blast will be attributed at all levels.

On Monday 11th of July, thirteen people were killed by a huge blast, following a massive explosion at the Naval Base “Evaggelos Florakis”, near Limassol.

The explosion caused extensive damage to nearby Vassiliko power plant, leading to power shortage all over Cyprus. Communities in close proximity where also hit, while Mari village suffered most of the damage.

The blast occurred in containers, full of munitions, which Cyprus had confiscated from “Monchegorsk“, a vessel sailing from Iran to Syria in 2009, complying with UN sanctions against Iran.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.

In July 2010, the Cypriot President announced three proposals on the Cyprus issue. The first suggests the linking of the discussion of three of the chapters of the Cyprus problem, those dealing with property, territory and immigration, for easing the resolution of the thorny chapter of properties and for expediting the dialogue.

The second proposal urges Turkey to apply UN Security Council resolution 550, which calls for the transfer of the fenced off area of Varosha, in Famagusta, to the administration of the United Nations. Part of this proposal is the opening of the port of Famagusta under EU auspices to benefit the Turkish Cypriots.

The third proposal is to convene an international conference when within range of an agreement on the internal aspects of the Cyprus problem.

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