Address on the Commemoration of the 28th Anniversary of the Turkish Invasion of Cyprus, 21 July 2002

The Minister of Justice and Public Order of the Republic of Cyprus;
The Premier of the North West;
His Eminence, The Archbishop of the Hellenic Orthodox Church of Zimbabwe;
Member of the Diplomatic Corps;
Distinguished Guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you for affording me the opportunity of interacting with you today, on this solemn occasion of remembering and honouring the victims, both Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot, who died tragically in 1974.

This memorial service is important for all of us, as it is a reminder of the importance of observing basic human rights and basic principles of democracy throughout the world.

We should also pay tribute to the organisers of this event for their vigorous effort in support of a free and united Cyprus. Your support and advocacy for human rights and civil liberties needs to be applauded. having fought our own struggle for liberation and against oppression, we as South Africans full understand the passionate advocacy for human rights and civil liberties for all peoples.

Distinguished guests, since her re-admission into the international community, South Africa has been a consistent and persuasive voice for the proposition that democracy, respect for human rights and freedom, as well as the rule of law should be the bedrock of a principled global human society.

In this regard, we have propagated this message through various fora, such as the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement and the Commonwealth.

Master of Ceremonies, The United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provide us with the vision towards which we should strive. We believe that the time has come for all of us, as a global village, to contribute towards the resolution of the Cyprus issue, consistently with what is contained in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and the various UN Security Council Resolutions.

Distinguished guests, I must emphasise that South Africa support efforts to secure full implementation of all United Nations resolutions on Cyprus. To this end, we wish to stress the important role of the United Nations Secretary General, in securing a just and workable solution for the island and its people.

We have also expressed support for the initiative of key international organisations such as the European Union, the Commonwealth and Non-Aligned Movement, which are also engaged in finding a solution to this longstanding dispute.

South Africa has repeatedly encouraged the Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot communities to again take up the dialogue, and to allow and encourage bi-communal meetings and not to take any actions that would impede or jeopardise talks in any way.

In this regard, South Africa welcomes and supports the decision by the respective parties to continue bilateral engagements. We believe that with sufficient goodwill and political commitment, a peaceful and mutually acceptable solution based on the relevant United Nations resolutions can indeed be found to the Cyprus questions.

In conclusion, I wish to reiterate the determination of the South African Government, to continue as it has in the past in supporting the search for a joint solution to the Cyprus problem, within the parameters set by the United Nations and based on its relevant resolutions.

A solution, which will guarantee good governance in Cyprus and the respect for fundamental freedom and basic human rights for all it's citizens irrespective of their ethnic origin, race and creed, is one which is unequivocally supported by the South African Government.

Distinguished guests, I must also add that I have joined you here today, because we truly value the contribution of the Cypriot community to the strengthening of our vibrant rainbow nation.

It is through the presence of a community such as this one, that South Africa has been able to turn the diversity of its people into a strength.

Our coat of arms clearly proves our commitment to ensuring that we continue to work towards unity and progress. It inspires us to use our diversity to build an even stronger South African nation, united in its common pursuit for a better life for all.

Let me also add also that through the support of this community, we have been able to strengthen our political and economic links with the Republic of Cyprus, and we value the relationships we have with that country.

In this spirit, we urge our brothers and sisters in this community, to join us in the quest for solutions to the various problems in our continent. You will recall that the African union was launched in Durban recently, with South Africa as the first chair, and it faces several economic, political and social challenges.

The resolution of conflicts in the continent, good governance and respect for human rights, are some of the issues that the AU will be tackling. Added to this, is the quest for sustainable development in the continent, which we hope to achieve through the AU's New Partnership for Africa's Development, (NEPAD).

The Cypriot community no doubt shares these dreams and goals, and we invite you to participate in whatever way, in the rebirth of our continent.

We believe Africa has a bright future, and that if we work together, we can achieve our objectives.

Let me once again, assure you of our support to the quest for solutions to the Cypriot matter, and wish you all the best in the road that lies ahead.

I thank you.

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