Cyprus expects the United Nations and the international community to turn their attention to Turkey ”in order to pave the way for a solution” of the Cyprus problem, ”Turkey must leave behind words and slogans, and show in practice that it is ready for an honorable, viable and functional compromise,” President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias said on Sunday.
Addressing an event for the persons missing since the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, President Christofias said ”we are indeed dealing with a very difficult interlocutor,” who ”is declaring everywhere that it is seeking a solution within 2010.” He also pointed out that ”we are expecting the Turkish Cypriot leadership and Ankara to show in practice, at the negotiating table, that they are committed by the agreed framework and to submit reasonable and constructive proposals, which will create the preconditions for a realistic compromise.”
He assured that the Greek Cypriot side would continue to sincerely pursue a settlement, providing for a bizonal bicommunal federation with political equality, as defined in UN resolutions, safeguarding the unity of the state. ”This is the historical compromise of the Greek Cypriot side,” he said, adding that ”a bizonal bicommunal federation solution will guard against division and division means destruction.”
President Christofias welcomed a Greek delegation that attended the event and expressed appreciation for the work of the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus, noting that the government supports its efforts.
Referring to the Committee’s work, President Christofias said six teams were carrying out exhumations in the Turkish occupied areas and two in the government controlled areas, adding that after intensive efforts and representations in various directions, a commitment was obtained that investigations would be allowed in military zones in the Turkish occupied areas.
He noted that the Committee has carried out 274 exhumations and found remains believed to belong to 600 persons missing from both sides on the island, and that so far the remains of 179 Greek Cypriots and 52 Turkish Cypriots have been identified by DNA.
”The Committee’s exhumation programme undoubtedly creates a climate of optimism,” he said but pointed out that efforts were being made so that Turkey fulfills its commitments and provides access to military records and other services, which will help determine the fate of missing persons.
”For us, the issue of missing persons, the most tragic aspect of the Cyprus problem, must not be seen through a political lens but everyone must show the necessary sensitivity in this humanitarian matter,” he added.
President Christofias referred to the 1974 coup d’ etat and the Turkish invasion of the island a few days later, noting that ”the lessons of history must act as a calling for all of us to take our responsibilities in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem, bringing the true reunification of our homeland, the people, the economy and the institutions, which will terminate occupation and settling, and will restore the human rights of the whole of the people of Cyprus.”
”Thus we will heal the wounds, those who fought and gave their lives will be justified, and we will truly guarantee a peaceful and hopeful future for our children,” he said.