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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 08-12-31

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    President Demetris Christofias has assured the people of Cyprus that he will continue to strive with determination for a political settlement, in line with UN resolutions and European law, and has called on the Turkish Cypriot leadership to continue and intensify efforts for a solution, with goodwill and mutual understanding.

    In a message to the people of Cyprus for the new year, President Christofias says that his first wish is for 2009 to be the year of the solution of the Cyprus problem, the termination of the Turkish occupation and colonisation, the reunification of the island and its people, in the framework of a unified bizonal bicommunal federal Republic of Cyprus.

    President Christofias notes that there are difficulties in achieving this goal but points out that ``we have no other choice, division does not suit anyone, neither the Greek Cypriots nor the Turkish Cypriots, division is destructive for everyone.``

    We will continue to strive with determination and consistency on the principles of the solution of the problem, as we have been doing since the first moment we assumed the presidency of the Republic, he said. Christofias was elected to the presidency in February 2008.

    Extending wishes to the Turkish Cypriots, he called on their leadership to carry on together in a spirit of good will and mutual understanding and to intensify the efforts to achieve the desired solution.

    This, he stressed, has to be an agreed and mutually acceptable solution, by the Cypriots for the Cypriots, a solution which will safeguard the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the entire people of Cyprus and which will make them the real masters in their country, as we have agreed so many times in the past with Mr Talat (Turkish Cypriot leader) as leaders of our political parties.

    The solution, President Christofias pointed out, will be based on UN resolutions, international and European law, and the high level agreements of 1977 and 1979 between the two communities on the island, which provide for a bizonal bicommunal federation.

    Christofias and Talat have been engaged in talks since September this year to find a negotiated settlement that will reunite Cyprus, which has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

    Referring to the difficulties of a solution, he says that ``they must lead neither to disappointment nor thoughts to terminate the negotiations`` the leaders of the two communities have been engaged in since early September.

    Let us not underestimate what we have achieved last year through hard efforts. We succeeded, after having re-established the right basis for a solution of the Cyprus problem, to terminate the stalemate and to resume the direct negotiations, the President said in his message.

    We succeeded to revive the interest of the international community in the Cyprus problem. We succeeded to regenerate hope in our people concerning the prospects of a settlement, he added.

    He said the difficulties have to be addressed with a cool head and patience and noted that we need to continue the struggle for the vindication of our people with unity, collective effort and in unison. For permanent peace, security and prosperity for ourselves and our children.

    Along with the struggle to solve the Cyprus problem, he went on to add, we will continue the work to implement our social and economic programme,`` noting that ``our vision is to build a more just society, to form a modern prosperous state which will meet the legitimate needs of the citizens and which will promote social solidarity in action.

    He adds that, despite the global financial crisis, ``the economy of our country is in a good shape,`` assuring nevertheless that ``we are implementing all necessary measures to address any consequences`` and maintain ``a satisfactory growth rate and full employment.``

    We support the business world in its effort to cope with challenges. We support in practice the working people and we pay particular attention to suffering citizens as well as those who need aid and care from the state, he said.

    The President also assures that the government supports the refugees, the enclaved (Greek Cypriots living in the northern Turkish occupied areas) and the relatives of missing persons.

    President Christofias also referred to the infants being treated in hospital after falling seriously ill in a private clinic. ``We express our sympathy and support to the families of the newborn in the difficult times they are passing. We wish a speedy recovery,`` he says.

    He also referred to the situation in the Gaza Strip and the Israeli offensives, ``bordering on genocide,`` and notes that ``the people of Cyprus express solidarity and support to the suffering people of Palestine.``

    President Christofias condemned the bombings and the disproportionate violence being used and called on the Israeli government to end the massacre in order to revive the peace process for a just and mutually acceptable solution, which will safeguard the interests of the Palestinians and the Israelis.

    During 2008, we jointly made remarkable achievements. It is my conviction that together we shall continue with these remarkable achievements in the year to come, for the benefit of our society and our country, the President concluded and wished everybody good health, progress and happiness.

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