Address of the Presidential Commissioner at the PSEKA celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of Cyprus
Honorable dignitaries in Washington DC,
It is a distinct honor to be here, online with you, to join you in celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of Cyprus. Let me first commend the organizers (Philip, Andy and Mike) and all contributors for this brilliant initiative and thank them for the opportunity to participate.
The Independence anniversary of October 1st is certainly one of the most important celebrations in our national calendar. It carries a meaning and significance that transcends time, which is still relevant today: The constant effort of a small island-country to meet the adversities and challenges in its turbulent region and to survive against the aggressiveness of its powerful neighbour.
Indeed, 60 years later, we remain proud to live in a country that not only survived, but thrived through the past decades, against all odds. Sixty years later, there is strong and growing political desire and commitment to deepen and broaden our ties with the United States, in all areas. It is important that we carry this momentum forward, to the benefit of our countries and peoples.
We highly value US interest and active involvement in the efforts to end tensions in our naval zones and resume negotiations to achieve a comprehensive and viable settlement of the Cyprus Question, together with solving long-awaited humanitarian issues which are still pending, such as the heartbreaking and painful humanitarian tragedy of the missing people. Forty-six years since the Turkish invasion, around eight hundred Greek Cypriots are still missing – two of them American citizens. Progress on this serious problem during the past few years is disappointing, to say the least.
Turkey, as the state responsible for their disappearance, according to the relevant European Court of Human Rights’ judgments, is in a position to provide the evidence and information concerning their fate from its military archives. The Turkish Government has the legal and moral responsibility to co-operate. I feel that at this critical juncture the need for the US to assume a more active involvement and humanitarian initiatives is more than urgent.
I cannot overemphasize enough how indispensable the contribution of our Diaspora has been all these years, in raising awareness on the criminal injustices committed by Turkey in Cyprus. Their contribution has been indeed instrumental in mobilizing the interest and the involvement of key policymakers in the United States in our efforts to reach a settlement on the Cyprus Question. To this end, the role of the organized Diaspora, as a pressure group in major decision-making centers around the World, and especially in Washington D.C., remains indispensable and of great importance.
We owe them a great debt for their active and very constructive engagement in providing an effective context 60 years since the formation of our state, for continuing the preservation of our identity, for promoting our rich culture, history and traditions in the US, as well as for sending the clear message that Cyprus remains one of the most predictable, reliable and stable partners of the US in the key region of the eastern Mediterranean. For the dedication and commitment of our Diaspora around the world, we remain truly grateful.
Happy Independence Day for our beloved homeland. Thank you!