President Nicos Anastasiades who was in Chicago on Sunday evening, plans to urge United States Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice-President Joe Biden to exert US influence on Turkey to help achieve a settlement of the Cyprus problem.
Addressing Cypriot ex-pats at a dinner, he said that he would meet both government officials on the side lines of the forthcoming UN General Assembly.
Anastasiades spoke at an event organised by the local Cypriot Brotherhood to mark the 60th anniversary of the Cypriots’ 1955-59 struggle for liberation from British colonial rule.
The event, featured a photographic exhibition, informational material, and a documentary, on the 1955-59 armed struggle.
In his speech, the President paid his respects to EOKA fighters and their struggle, which gave Cyprus the opportunity to gain independence.
“We are grateful and thankful for everything you have contributed in the struggle,” he said.
“The liberation struggle may not have led to the desired outcome, but to the chance to have our independence, and our right today to fight as a state for our liberation and justice for Cypriot Hellenism, which unfortunately, 60 years later, is still on the ramparts.”
Anastasiades also expressed Cyprus’ gratitude for the expatriate community’s efforts to rid Cyprus of occupying troops and create the right conditions “to allow for the reunification of our country, safeguard the human rights of free movement and settlement for every Cypriot, and every citizen to practise the profession of his choice at the location of his choice”.
He assured all who hail from the “occupied areas” [as he calls the TRNC. Ed], that his effort, through peaceful dialogue and synergies created and strengthened with the USA, Israel, and others, is to create the prospects and conditions for the focus to be on exerting influence on Turkey.
“I may have good faith and want to solve the Cyprus problem, and the recently elected Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci may have the same visions for the reunification of our country as I do, but it is up to Turkey,” Anastasiades said.
“Until Turkey shows the determination required for 40,000 Turkish troops to depart, for the settlers to leave, and for the necessary territorial adjustments to be made, it is all in Turkey’s hands.”
He added that this is the message he will convey to Biden and Kerry in the coming days.
“My message will be this: exert any influence you may have on Turkey, so that Cyprus can become a modern, stable, and peaceful state, where Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, and Christians and Muslims, can live together,” he said.
“…We see that 41 years later our cultural heritage is being destroyed, our churches are being turned into mosques, the demographic character of the occupied areas is being altered. We see desperate Greek Cypriots turning to the Immovable Property Commission and transferring their properties to the Turkish state for peanuts”.
If our own mistakes that could turn into nightmares prevent us from reaching a fair, viable, and workable solution, the risk of ‘Turkeyfication’ will remain a real threat, he added.
Edited Cyprus Mail