President of the Republic of Cyprus Nikos Christodoulides said on Saturday that the Republic of Cyprus will submit its candidacy to the Council of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to continue to have a leading role in that Organization.

The President was speaking on the sidelines of the memorial service held for the heroes of the 1955-59 liberation struggle of EOKA, at the “Imprisoned Graves”, a site within Nicosia Central Prison containing their graves, where, accompanied by Ministers, he laid a wreath. 

Asked by journalists why the Cypriot candidacy for the General Secretariat of the IMO did not proceed, President Christodoulides said that there was not a mistake there, dismissing press reports that because there was not a Cypriot candidacy, Greece was forced to support Turkey.

He clarified that the agreement between Greece and Turkey for mutual support in the UN Security Council and in the IMO was done long before any thought about a possible candidacy of the Republic of Cyprus.

The Republic of Cyprus, he said, will submit its candidacy for the IMO Council, “as we have been doing for the last few years and in fact we have enough support and within this context we will continue to have a leading role in this Organization.”

President Christodoulides said that what is important is “through our substantive intervention in the IMO to support the rights of the Republic of Cyprus, because we are a country which, since 1987, due to Turkey’s attitude, we have very serious problems in the field of shipping.”

He said that even now, Turkey is taking advantage of the crisis in Ukraine, “to make it difficult for ships flying the Cypriot flag.”

Asked whether the election of Turkey to the General Secretariat of the IMO will have negative consequences for Cyprus, the President  said that he does not consider under any circumstances that the Secretary-General of the IMO, whether he comes from Turkey or from any other country, can in any way cause  problems for an internationally recognized state, “a state which, especially in the shipping sector, has an important role to play.”

Referring to the anniversary of the liberation struggle of EOKA 1955-59, the President said that it was a struggle that led to the most precious thing we have today, namely the Republic of Cyprus adding that this is something that we must never forget.

Honoring the heroes, he said comes through “our daily behavior, the way we govern, but also especially, because we are talking about the Republic of Cyprus, through our effort, our struggle to end the occupation, for liberation and reunification of our homeland.”

He noted that despite the problems, difficulties and obstacles our side will do everything possible to break the deadlock and resume the talks for the solution of the Cyprus issue.

President Christodoulides said that this is a difficult struggle due to the Turkish intransigence, but noted that when the EOKA struggle was beginning, it was a difficult one too but the heroes “showed us the way and we’re just following that path.”

Despite the difficulties and problems as regards the Cyprus issue, we will do our utmost, he reiterated and referred to the role that the EU can play.

“It is within this framework, through a new approach, that we want the EU to play a leading role because we believe that it can have those incentives to break the deadlock, resume the talks and solve the Cyprus. We are here for the struggle and that is what we will do until we achieve our goal”, he stressed.

Finally, replying to a question whether the government intends to renew the electricity subsidy measures, he said that through a supplementary budget, which will be submitted to the Parliament, they will continue the measure, which he described as particularly important.

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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