|Thursday, 22 March 2018|
Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 10-06-05
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 PRESIDENT PALACE SPEECHPresident of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias has called on the international community to exert its influence on Turkey, pointing out that it is high time that everyone realizes that compliance with international law is more important than serving the narrow interests relating to the geostrategic position of Turkey.
In a speech at the welcoming ceremony of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI at the Presidential Palace, President Christofias warned that otherwise, justice and stability in the whole area of the Eastern Mediterranean will be jeopardized. The recent distressing developments in Gaza, he said, should make everyone stop and think.
The President also stressed that Cyprus aspires to and can become a model for the civilisation of co-existence, the civilisation of the future.
In his speech at the grounds of the Palace Garden where the civil authorities and diplomatic corps gathered, President Christofias said that it is a great honour for the Government of the Republic of Cyprus, the people of Cyprus and himself to welcome the Pontiff to the Presidential Palace, to the home of all Cypriots. Cyprus, a hospitable island, welcomes and warmly embraces You, he said.
Due to its geographic position, he continued, Cyprus has always been a meeting point of many peoples and civilizations, adding that for centuries, Orthodox Christians live harmoniously on our island together with the Catholic and Muslim communities. This heritage and the wealth emanating from this co-existence demonstrate that Cyprus can become a bridge which unites different worlds.
Cyprus aspires to and can become a model for the civilisation of co-existence, the civilisation of the future, said President Christofias, adding that the message of peace sent by the Inter-faith Conference organized in 2008 by the community of Saint Egidion and the Orthodox Church of Cyprus, headed by His Beatitude the Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostomos II is always current: No human being, no people, no community is an island. Everyone needs somebody else; everyone needs the friendship, forgiveness, and help of someone else. We share a common global destiny: either we live together in peace or we perish.  No hatred, no conflict, no wall can resist the power of prayer, forgiveness, and patient love leading to dialogue. Dialogue does not generate weakness, rather it grants new strength. It is the real alternative to violence. Nothing is lost with dialogue.
President Christofias said the humanitarian work of the Holy See for the poor is an example for all and for this reason, Your Holiness, to me Your visit is an historic moment and I assure You of my countrys desire to further develop its cooperation with the Holy See in the field of development aid. We, together with Your Holiness, are fellow travelers on the road towards achieving peace and acquiring a common universal moral conscience, as well as in the struggle against poverty, exclusion, injustice and hunger.
The President said that since 1973, the Republic of Cyprus has diplomatic relations with the Holy See. Since the establishment of Cyprus embassy at the Holy See in 2003, these relations have blossomed and strengthened further. He referred to his meetings with Pope Benedict at the Vatican twice, the first time as the President of the House of Representatives and the second time as the President of the Republic. The memories of these meetings remain vivid, he remarked.
President Christofias said the Popes visit coincides with the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus. Your arrival at this time adds moral and spiritual prestige to the celebrations taking place on the occasion of this anniversary.
Since the first visit of the Apostles Paul and Barnabas in 43 A.D., Cyprus, said President Christofias, has always been an apostolic land, with deep Christian roots. Unfortunately, a great part of the spiritual and cultural heritage of Cyprus, including the burial site and the Stavropegic Monastery of Apostle Barnabas as well as the Maronite religious monuments, continues to be under the occupation of the Turkish army. It is particularly disturbing that for 36 years our cultural and religious heritage in the occupied areas is being destroyed and this constitutes a loss for mankind in general.
The painful history of the island, underlined the President, strengthens our longing for peace, not only for our island but also for the wider area. Our proximity to the Middle East is not just geographical but also personal.
Despite its long history, said the President, Cyprus gained its independence in 1960 and since 1974 is has been experiencing the painful military occupation of more than 36 per cent of its territory. Nicosia, he reminded, remains the last divided European capital. I recall that departing from the Holy Land a year ago, You said that the wall there was one of the most distressing images that You had ever seen in Your life. I also recall that You prayed for peace. May this prayer for peace soon be fulfilled in the case of Cyprus as well!
President Christofias assured the Pope that from the day of my election to the office of the President of the Republic I have dedicated all my efforts and I continue to exert every effort towards the achievement of a just, viable and functional solution to the Cyprus problem.
The road towards the solution, however, requires that Ankara changes its policy and that it negotiates on the basis of the agreed framework for the solution, which we reached with the former leader of the Turkish Cypriot community Mehmet Ali Talat. This framework provides that the solution shall be a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality of the two communities as this is described in the relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council. It also provides that Cyprus shall be one state, with a single sovereignty, a single international personality and a single citizenship.
Turkey, President Christofias said, has a motive to change its policy since it seeks to become a full member of the European Union. The Government of the Republic of Cyprus supports the accession of Turkey to the European Union. It is not, however, prepared to concede to everything that pertains to the relations between Turkey and the European Union, except under the condition that Turkey will comply with its obligations towards the EU and its member states.
The international community must exert its influence on Turkey, he said, adding it is high time that everyone realizes that compliance with international law is more important than serving the narrow interests relating to the geostrategic position of Turkey.
Otherwise, justice and stability in the whole area of the Eastern Mediterranean will be jeopardized. The recent distressing developments in Gaza should make everyone stop and think, he said.
We honour our commitments and are free of nationalistic prejudices. We bring to the negotiation table positions that serve the interests of the people of Cyprus as a whole, regardless of national identity and religious beliefs. Our political determination and our good will to reach a solution cannot be disputed, the President stressed.
Pope Benedict XVI arrived at the Presidential Palace a little after 0900 and laid a wreath of flowers at the statue of the late President, Archbishop Makarios III. He held a half hour meeting with the President where they exchanged presents and subsequently met with the civil authorities and Diplomatic Corps which gathered at the Presidential Palace Garden, under the sounds of the Cyprus Young Strings Soloists of Matheos Kariolou.
 POPE PRESIDENTIAL PALACE SPEECHPope Benedict XVI has underlined the need for moral rectitude and impartial respect for others, in the world of politics and diplomacy on the national and international levels.
In a speech at the Presidential Palace after he met with the civil authorities and the Diplomatic Corps, following his meeting with President Demetris Christofias, Pope Benedict put forward three recommendations on how to achieve greater harmony in the troubled regions of the earth.
Expressing his gratitude for the gracious words of greeting which President Christofias had expressed in his speech, the Pope said that he had just laid a wreath at the memorial of the late Archbishop Makarios, the first President of the Republic of Cyprus.
On a personal level, Pope Benedict said, you as public servants know the importance of truth, integrity and respect in your relationships with others. Personal relationships are often the first steps towards building trust and in due course solid bonds of friendship between individuals, peoples and nations. This is an essential part of your role, both as politicians and diplomats.
In countries with delicate political situations, he said, such honest and open personal relationships can be the beginning of a much greater good for entire societies and peoples.
 POPE CATHOLIC COMMUNITYMaronites and Latins living in Cyprus have presented Pope Benedict XVI with a celebration of the world, as children attending the St. Maron Primary school performed a special cultural programme, illustrating the history and the heritage of the communities.
On the second day of his official visit to Cyprus, Pope Benedict received an elated welcome from the people who were chanting Hail the Pope as he arrived at the school, following his morning meeting with President Demetris Christofias at the Presidential Palace.
The Pope was greeted by Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus Youssef Soueif who said Cyprus welcomes your visit with great joy, noting that all the spiritual families and civil society commissions are happy and proud of this historic event.
Archbishop Soueif said that Maronites, Latins and Armenias form the three religious groups, the minorities, along with the two communities on the island, Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriots. There exist churches and ethnic groups that came to live on this island, the island of serenity and peace, he added.
In his speech, the Pope, speaking in Greek, said it was a great joy to be there, with the representatives of the Catholic community in Cyprus.
He urged the Catholic community of Cyprus to help create such mutual trust between Christians and non-Christians as a basis for building lasting peace and harmony between peoples of different religions, political regions and cultural backgrounds.
The cultural expressions, presented by the children, consisted of four different sections aiming to present the traditional life in the villages over the spring, summer, autumn and winter. Children and teenagers from Maronite and Latin schools took part while music, written mainly by Cypriot composers, accompanied the event.
 FM KYPRIANOU GAZAForeign Minister Markos Kyprianou was in Israel on Friday for contacts with the government in an effort to speed up the dispatch of humanitarian aid to the Palestinians.
The Ministers visit is part of a joint effort by Cyprus and Greece to try and find ways to send humanitarian aid to the Gaza strip, taking into consideration the humanitarian needs of the Palestinians and Israels security.
Kyprianou had meetings with his Israeli counterpart, the Minister of Defence and the Deputy Prime Minister in Tel Aviv.
As he told CNA today, he will continue his contacts with the Palestinian Authority and other interested countries. The whole effort is a joint attempt by Cyprus and Greece, following consultations between Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou.
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