Cyprus will do everything possible so that there is uninterrupted humanitarian aid to Gaza and whatever necessary in case the need arises to evacuate peopole from the Middle East region, President of the Republic Nikos Christodoulides said on Saturday, in remarks after the student parade in Nicosia to mark the national anniversary of October, 28,1940.
He also welcomed the fact that the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, has decided to proceed with the appointment of a specific personality to explore the prospects for the resumption of Cyprus talks, noting that he expects the decision of the Secretary General to be made public very soon and that the effort will kick off.
The President of the Republic said that today we commemorate the struggle of Hellenism against Nazism and fascism, a struggle which, he said, was decisive for the end of the Second World War, the confrontation of fascism and Nazism and the prevalence of freedom and democracy in Europe.
“Today we are fighting with the same principles and the same values for the liberation of our country and the reunification of our land”, President Christodoulides continued, while expressing his satisfaction that the UN Secretary General, following the efforts of the Republic of Cyprus, has decided to proceed with the appointment of a specific personality to explore the prospects for the resumption of talks on the Cyprus problem.
“I expect very soon that the decision of the Secretary General will be made public and that this effort will begin, which for our side aims solely to the resumption of talks from where they were interrupted in the summer of 2017 and to resolve the Cyprus problem on the basis of the agreed framework, on the basis of the principles and values of the EU, the principles and values of the struggle of the Greeks of 1940”, he stressed.
He also pointed out that there is a difficult situation in our region, namely a war, and that the Republic of Cyprus, considering that it is the EU member state neighbouring the region and maintains excellent relations with all neighbouring states, is making an effort within its capabilities, which is recognised at the European and the international level, towards the uninterrupted provision of humanitarian aid to Gaza.
He also said that he had the opportunity to present to the European Council on Thursday in detail the Cyprus proposal, which he said he discussed last Saturday in Egypt with the President of the country and subsequently with the Israeli Prime Minister during his visit to Israel, adding that work has begun on its implementation to ensure uninterrupted delivery of humanitarian aid.
“Our effort will continue, I have also been in contact from Brussels with the President of Egypt, tomorrow the Foreign Minister is going to Jordan on this issue as well, and I hope this effort will be implemented very soon,” he added on the matter.
The President then condemned any action aimed at killing civilians, adding that there is absolutely no excuse for this, just as there is absolutely no excuse for terrorism wherever it comes from.
He added that Cyprus, as the state in the region that is part of the EU and which has excellent relations with everyone, will do everything possible within its capabilities, and always in consultation with its partners, who recognise the role of the Republic of Cyprus, so that there is uninterrupted humanitarian aid, and whatever necessary in case the need arises to evacuate people from the region, with the Republic’s plan already being implemented.
“Developments in the Middle East prove that there are no frozen conflicts, it is the beginning of the political process that will lead to the resolution of the Palestinian issue,” he said.
Asked whether there would be EU assistance for the implementation of the proposal, the President replied in the affirmative, adding that there were public comments from both the French President and other European leaders after the briefing he gave to the European Council on the implementation of the proposal.
He added that the details are now being worked out, with the European Commission and the European Council being informed, with a view to implementing this effort starting from Cyprus, the closest point of the EU in the region, in order to ensure the uninterrupted delivery of humanitarian aid.
Asked whether European troops would arrive in Cyprus to contribute to this effort, the President said that the discussion is not about troops but about humanitarian aid, which would arrive in Cyprus and from there it would be ensured that it would go to Gaza. He added that any troops in Cyprus, which have come in the last few days, are here in case the need arises to evacuate people from the area, and these are in particular members of diplomatic staff from some diplomatic missions.
Asked about left -wing party AKEL’s criticism of the government for Cyprus’ abstention vote at the UN General Assembly session on the resolution for humanitarian aid to Gaza, President Christodoulides said that this criticism was regrettable, as, he said, it was exploiting a war outside Cyprus against the government, at a time when the international community was noting the important role played by the Republic of Cyprus.
He added that it is better before any announcements are made, which is the absolute right of any party, as well as any citizen to judge the government on a daily basis, to ask to be informed.
He pointed out that the majority of the EU member states, 15 in number, took this stance because it was not possible to find a common position of all 27 and that the Republic of Cyprus has no objection to the content of the resolution, but its stance was due to the fact that it was not possible to condemn the terrorist act of Hamas and to strengthen the wording for the release of all hostages.
“The Republic of Cyprus plays a role in the region, a role which is recognised by third parties, and it is regrettable that criticism is being made internally, without even asking for information beforehand,” he added.
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.