CNA News

It is high time for peace, all Cypriots – Greek and Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Armenians, Latins – deserve the same human rights and fundamental freedoms as all other Europeans, President of the Republic Nikos Christodoulides stressed on Tuesday addressing the Plenary Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), and asking for the support and tangible contribution of PACE “as we strive for peace”.

In his address, the President referred to the Cyprus problem, saying that  Cyprus, for the past fifty years, we have been experiencing the tragic consequences of the violation of basic human rights and freedoms since “fifty years after the barbaric Turkish invasion in 1974 in European Cyprus, there is still occupation, there are still displaced persons, missing persons, and enclaved persons”.

He noted that human rights in Cyprus remain tragically an unfulfilled promise for all Cypriots, as a result of the illegal invasion of Turkey in 1974 and the continued occupation.

This year, he added, marks the 50th anniversary of the Turkish invasion, 50 years of continued, illegal occupation, “five decades of division, continuous violations of fundamental freedoms and basic human rights on the European continent cannot continue”.

“I stand today before you, asking for your support and tangible contribution as we strive for peace,” he told the Assembly.

He said that the Council of Europe in general and the Parliamentary Assembly in particular “have the political legitimacy to actively contribute to our efforts both to ensure there is a conducive environment, and in our efforts for a comprehensive settlement”.

Referring to the European Court of Human Rights he said it is an indispensable shield in our fight to uphold human rights, rule of law and democracy adding that states have a collective and unconditional obligation to fully adhere and implement the Court’s final judgments.

In his speech, the President referred to various conflicts in the world,  such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine and said that we will never allow border changes stemming from violence and war.

“It is becoming painfully evident that there are no “frozen conflicts” and that in the absence of viable, comprehensive solution, the risk of eruption of conflict, with far reaching consequences, is real” he said.

Referring to the war in the Middle East, he said that the unfolding war is a litmus test for us all, not only for regional stability, but for peace and security on a global scale.

He referred to Cyprus’ comprehensive initiative for a one-way maritime corridor, the Amalthea Plan explaining that the Cyprus Maritime Corridor Initiative provides for a complementary route to existing and future routes for humanitarian assistance to be delivered for the civilians in Gaza, and said “I am very pleased that we have recently set the corridor in motion. It remains at the disposal of the international community solely for contributing to a sustainable, high volume and secured flow of humanitarian aid to civilians in the Gaza Strip.” 

Referring to the Council of Europe, he said that this year marks 75 years since its foundation and said that “I can assure you that Cyprus remains firmly committed to its responsibilities and obligations and will do everything in its power to preserve and promote the fundamental values of the Council of Europe. We remain committed to maintain and enhance the relevance of this vital organisation”.