Collectiveness, understanding and cooperation are a historical necessity, President-elect of the Republic of Cyprus, Nikos Christodoulides, said on Sunday, in statements after the memorial service in Machairas, of Grigoris Afxentiou, the second in command of the 1950’s EOKA movement against British colonial rule.

He added that the announcements on the composition of the new government will be made as planned, noting that there is a government and we should not rush ahead with announcements about the new Cabinet. “Everything is ready, and it will take place as planned,” he said.

In his statements after the memorial service, Christodoulides said that “we honour as we should”, the memory of the deputy leader of EOKA, Grigoris Afxentiou, adding that “to show that we truly honor his memory we must learn lessons from his sacrifice, from the heroic struggle, the national liberation struggle of EOKA”. 

Christodoulides also stressed the need for cooperation, an example which can be drawn also from Afxentiou’s and the EOKA heroes’ sacrifice, as he said.

“Collectiveness, understanding, cooperation, is a historical necessity, which is also imperative due to the multiple challenges we have to face, either externally or domestically,” he added.

He noted that the message of the new Government is cooperation and expressed optimism that, there will be a positive response from everyone, “to work together, collectively, so that we can meet the expectations of the Cypriot people”.

Asked if a meeting with the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in Brussels has been arranged, he said it has not yet been arranged. He noted that the European Council meeting is scheduled for March 23, and that there was still time. Christodoulides said that Guterres will be in Brussels for very few hours, “but certainly, either in a separate private meeting or within the framework of the European Council, I will have the opportunity to send the messages that I wish, in continuation of the recent meeting I had with the Turkish Cypriot leader as well as the meetings I will have with European officials when I am in Brussels”.

Answering a question about the proposals he submitted to Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar for offering help to the earthquake victims, Christodoulides said that these are proposals also made by the current Government, “and this is why I say that we should not rush with the Council of Ministers, because we have a government, which is taking very serious decisions.”

He noted that the has expressed to Tatar readiness “to contribute in any way we can, in any way they wish, so that this tragedy can be dealt with”.

Christodoulides noted that, within this context, the Republic of Cyprus, as an EU member state, has expertise and cooperation with the European institutions, “and we are ready to contribute in this direction”.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.

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