Speech by the Mayor of Limassol, Mr Andreas Christou, at the event on “Prospects for resolving the Cyprus problem and reunifying Cyprus”, on Wednesday, March 26, 2014, at 7:00 p.m. at the cultural centre of Panos Solomonides.
I would like to welcome to our city Mr Mehmet Ali Talat, an old friend and competitor, and to congratulate all the bodies for taking the initiative to organise this event.
Tonight’s guest needs no introduction; I shall, however, highlight that Mehmet Ali’s presence in the political arena and active involvement in social struggles are not ephemeral, while his inclusion in the left-wing alliance is not coincidental.
A graduate from the Electrical and Electronics Engineering Department of the Technical University in Ankara, Mr Talat actively participated in the then rising student movement and played an important role in the establishment of the Turkish Cypriot Students' Youth Federation, becoming the first chairman of its executive board.
He has always been a strong opponent of the violation of human rights of the Cypriot people by foreign powers, championing friendship, cooperation and peaceful co-existence of both communities on our island.
He has worked from all positions he was appointed to by his party to promote the negotiated solution of the Cyprus problem and has had the privilege to take the fate of his community in his hands.
During the last few years, when Mr Demetris Christofias served as the President of the Republic, they worked and agreed on difficult matters regarding our political problem and together they eagerly promoted the solution of the Cyprus problem.
All the extensive and thorough work done by Mr Christofias and Mr Talat has served the interests of the Cypriot people and should be fully used in the present phase of the talks.
It took very long to solve the Cyprus problem. People come and go with the bitter complaint of separation, insecurity, displacement and nostalgia for their homes.
We all claim responsibility for this ongoing situation, but we are now faced with an opportunity which we have to warmly embrace and take until the end. We know that if and when we reach an agreement, it will carry part of the accumulated problems of the past and will be a solution of a possibly painful compromise.
But there is no other way and as the time goes by, the potential of a political solution, which will safeguard the interests of our peoples, both the G/C and T/C will dwindle and the spectre of division will be imposed.
The international political instability, especially in our region, and the ordeal of the economic crisis that we are now faced with is only a taste of an adventure in which Cyprus may unwillingly find herself.
Therefore, we want a solution now to reunite our people and our island, to give hope to the new generation and to make Cyprus the bridge of peace, cooperation, development and progress in the region.
Limassol has always been the city where no separation lines existed despite the dreadful events of several periods and where as recently as 1964 our T/C fellow citizens participated with elected councillors in the Municipal Councils of our city. In this city that has never lost its orientation, values and principles we welcome Mr Mehmet Ali Talat.