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Famagusta Anti-Occupation Rally to Send Message of Unity

Greek-Cypriots have organized a rally against the occupation of Famagusta on August 9, according to the city’s mayor Alexis Galanos.
“The goal is to send a message of unity to carry on the struggle of terminating the Turkish occupation and reunite the country,” said Galanos.
Speaking to the press on Wednesday, Galanos said that every year that passes, the solution to the Cyprus problem becomes harder.
However, he pointed out that “we have no other choice but to keep fighting for a reunited island of peace and prosperity.”
During the event set to take place at Famagusta Cultural Center in Deryneia, the municipality will honor all the other occupied municipalities, presenting them with special plaques.
“We want to send the message that all refugees are fighting together and want to end the 40-year Turkish occupation.”
The mayor went on to say that the return of Famagusta is a priority issue for the municipality, however it has not been given the appropriate attention.
He said that “Turkey, as the occupying force, is responsible for the return of the city to its rightful owners and we should push towards this end and for the implementation of all UN and EU resolutions on the matter.”
“The Turkish side`s refusal to concur to experts entering the city to carry out a survey on the reconstruction of the town, including the fenced-off part of the city (Varosha), shows that it does not have the will to solve the Cyprus problem.”
Abandoned by its Greek Cypriot inhabitants as they fled the advancing Turkish troops in the summer of 1974, Varosha has remained under Turkey`s direct control since then.
“”We need to convey these messages abroad. The EU should also play a role in the solution,”” Galanos said, adding that “the struggle becomes harder because of the economic crisis.”
“People, especially refugees, want those responsible for the collapse of the economy to be brought to justice,” he noted.
The rally is taking place next Saturday. President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades will be the keynote speaker at the event, which will be addressed by the mayors of Famagusta and Deryneia. Greek MP Kyriakos Virvidakis will represent the President of the Greek Parliament.
Guests also include MEP Cecilia Wikstrom, MPs at the House of Commons Matthew Offord, Jim Sheridan and David Amess, Mayor of the Greek town of Salamina Isidora Nannou and well-known British author Victoria Hislop whose book “The Island” has become a best seller. Her latest book is named “Sunrise” and refers to the story of Famagusta. The book will be presented in Cyprus in September.
Cyprus was divided in 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. UN backed negotiations are underway to reunite the island under a federal roof.
US Vice President Joe Biden visited Cyprus last May and, on his return to the USA he asked the Turkish Cypriot administration to make a gesture of good intention by returning the occupied city of Famagusta to the Greek Cypriots, as a breakthrough in the confidence-building measures between the two sides.

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