Reunification our only option, says President

Reunification our only option, says President

The reunification of our country, the withdrawal of Turkish occupation troops and the creation of conditions for peaceful coexistence is our only option, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades stressed on Thursday.

In statements to the press, following a military parade in Nicosia to mark the 55th anniversary of Cyprus` independence, the President said that we need to pay tribute to all those who contributed to the establishment of our state through their sacrifices and struggles.

The President also said that we need to reflect on the past and the times we`ve been through up until now, pointing out that “this course was successful as regards our prosperity and progress, but also a time of tragic adventures due to mistakes committed as a result of interventions by third parties, but also because of mistakes made by both communities on the island.”

President Anastasiades noted that 55 years since the establishment of the Cyprus Republic, we need to reflect on the prospects ahead as well as on the existing concerns.

He went on to say that each one of us should wonde whether it is in our country`s interest to remain divided due, to the presence of occupation forces, or if it to its benefit to evolve into a modern, European state.

He stressed that our only option is the reunification of our country and the withdrawal of Turkish troops. Anastasiades reassured that the Greek Cypriot side is working to this end and expressed hope that with the contribution of Turkey, it will soon become possible to end the division and get rid of the occupation army.

The President also congratulated the Defence Minister and the National Guard Chief for the excellent performance of the Armed Forces in the parade, pointing out that the army`s mission is not aggressive but defensive. Their role, he noted is in the unlikely event of threat, to defend the Republic of Cyprus as they did in the past.

He went on to say that our greatest wish is that the time comes when no troops will be needed on the island for whatever reason.

Greek National Defence Minister Panos Kammenos represented the Greek government at the celebrations.

Earlier the President visited the Imprisoned Graves, where he laid a wreath in honor of the 13 fighters of the 1955-1959 liberation struggle (EOKA) against the British rule, who are buried there.

He also laid a wreath to the statue of Archbishop Makarios III, the first President of the Republic of Cyprus, at the Presidential Palace.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. UN-backed talks, aiming to reunite the island under a federal roof, resumed on May 15, this year.