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Cyprus President to UN Assembly: ‘Do we have the resolve to make peace our top priority?’

President of Cyprus Nikos Christodoulides condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, emphasized the need for the UN to live up to its founding principles to ensure respect for the sovereignty of all States, and discussed steps to tackle the climate crisis during his address to the annual General Assembly debate in New York.

Mr. Christodoulides issued renewed condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and urged member states to live up to the commitments outlined in the UN Charter. 

“The horrors of the second world war, which began in Europe and consumed the world, brought nations together. We, assembled here today, must live up to the obligations prescribed in the UN Charter,” said Mr. Christodoulides.

“As we stand on the shoulders of our predecessors, we remain accountable to deliver on the vision of peace that sparked the creation of this resilient Organization. Cyprus condemns, in the strongest terms, any breach of international peace and security effected through military action by any state, against the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of another state.” 

Mr. Christodoulides reiterated Cyprus’ support for the immediate cessation of hostilities between the two states. He emphasized that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was a violation of international law, and pushed for standing on what he called the “right side of history.”

“The world must support this effort, not only because history demands it, but also to ensure the world steps back from the edge of a war that could reduce this institution to rubble.”

A shared struggle

Drawing a correlation between Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Türkiye’s occupation of Northern Cyprus, Mr. Christodoulides discussed the struggles faced by Cyprus’ civilian population and called for a removal of the border divide.

“Since the first day of the aggression against Ukraine, the people of Cyprus – a third of them still displaced as a result of foreign aggression against their own country – have displayed solidarity, with deeds, not just words, to the people of Ukraine. We do this because we remember. We do this because it is the right thing to do,” he said.

“It’s people – Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots – continue to suffer the consequences of invasion, occupation, division. They are deprived of fundamental freedoms and human rights. Europe, which decades ago witnessed the worst horrors humankind has ever committed against itself, remains fractured as long as Cyprus is divided.” 

Mr. Christodoulides lamented the UN Charter’ inability to resolve conflict in the region and emphasized Cyprian’s desire to reunify.  

‘Good neighbourly relations’

Mr. Christodoulides directly called on Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, pushing for peace negotiations over the contested Northern Cyprus region. 

“I want to take this opportunity to also send a personal message to President Erdogan. This is our time to bring the UN Charter to life, a charter for peace between and among us. No one stands to gain from conflict and division. We, and the generations that will come after us, stand to gain from dialogue, from good neighbourly relations,” said Mr. Christodoulides. 

“Mr. Erdogan, let us work together guided by a vision of peace. Let us build a brighter future for our countries, through dialogue, and respect of international legality.”

‘Climate emergency’ 

Mr. Christodoulides also discussed the impact of climate change on the island nation, emphasising the vulnerability of the Eastern Mediterranean region to extreme weather events.

“The raging wildfires and floods during this summer are a sombre reminder of the fact that we are failing to act, at our own peril. We have regretfully all observed nature’s wrath, from the storm in countries of our region, and in countries such as Libya in which thousands so tragically lost their lives,” said Mr. Christodoulides. 

“The Climate Ambition Summit taking place today is a critical milestone in confirming our collective political will towards achieving the transition to a climate-resilient global economy.” 

Full statement available here.

Source



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