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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 09-05-08

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias said that Cyprus expects the EU to exert pressure on Turkey to take the necessary steps that will lead to a solution of the Cyprus problem.

    Addressing an event in Nicosia, organised by the European Parliament and European Commission Offices in Cyprus, to mark Europe Day, President Christofias assured that ``we will strive with all our might for the reunification of our homeland the soonest possible so that, along with our Turkish Cypriot compatriots, we will be able, free of the burden of occupation and in conditions of peace, security and prosperity, to utilise any benefits from our accession to the EU and participate, even more actively, in forming Europe.``

    ``In this effort we expect the solidarity and support of Europe and expect the EU and our partners to exert their pressure on Ankara so that it takes substantive steps that will facilitate progress and a solution of the problem, a solution that, apart from the UN Security Council resolutions on Cyprus, will have to be based on the principles and values of the EU. In this direction, it is necessary to make clear in every direction that a solution that does not comply with the EU principles and values cannot be accepted,`` he added.

    President Christofias noted that the EU ``has yet to adequately convince the citizens in various member states`` on issues concerning external and defence policies, thus leading to ``the distancing and indifference of a large part of the population regarding Union affairs.``

    ``Our country, as a full-fledged member of the EU, actively participates in the decision making process. With the main aim being the interests of the European citizens, the government is determined to contribute so that, through a fruitful dialogue and consent, on a European level, decisions are taken and policies are carved that express the interests of the people and citizens, fulfill the vision of the European citizens for a better future and effectively handle their problems and concerns,`` he added.

    Referring to the global financial crisis, President Christofias said that ``as European leaders we have an obligation to find solutions that will provide a true outlet from the crisis and will tackle the problems emerging for the citizens of the Union.``

    ``In this admittedly difficult curve, it is imperative to meet the expectations of the citizens and restore their trust towards the EU. We must convince that we can give effective solutions to the problems. This is the only way to bring Europe closer to the citizens. This is the only way to make our common course feasible in order to meet the financial, social and institutional challenges of today and tomorrow,`` he noted.

    President Christofias referred to the historical background of the EU and reiterated ``our commitment to actively strive to contribute to the construction of a strong Europe, which will have as its central orientation social progress and the prosperity of European citizens.``

    He added that the ideal Europe ``will be able to assert its role on the international scene and will play the leading role in efforts for the global establishment of the principles of democracy, equality and human rights, and will contribute to establishing a new notion to tackle international problems and will expect their peaceful resolution through dialogue, mutual understanding, respect of diversity and consent.``

    ``Only within a Europe with clear orientation we will be able to face the political, financial, social and environmental challenges of the 21st century,`` he added.

    Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

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