Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades was among select leaders who attended the military parade in Athens on Thursday marking the bicentennial celebrations for Greek independence from Ottoman rule.
Taking the salute in front of the Hellenic Parliament was Greece’s President Katerina Sakelaropoulou, who said after the parade that “our nation’s strength is in its unity.”
The parade started with a unit on horseback dressed in traditional costume representing all of Greece’s major struggles, starting with independence on March 24, 1821, the Greco-Turkish wars, Balkan wars, the defence of Asia Minor that culminated with the destruction of Smyrna in 1921 and the battles against the Italians and axis forces that ended with the liberation of Greece from Nazi Germany’s occupation.
Before the parade, Anastasiades laid a wreath on behalf of the people and government of Cyprus at the memorial of the Unknown Soldier, guarded by the ‘Evzon’ elite troops.
Also attending the parade, apart from Greek political leaders, were the Prime Minister of Russia, Mikhail Mishustin, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, and the French Defence Minister Florence Parly, representing the three nations that supported Greece throughout 1821 and the years the followed. The involvement of this alliances culminated with the Battle of Navarino in 1827 that destroyed the Turkish navy and sealed Greece’s independence.
Signing the visitor’s book at the official banquet at the Presidential Palace the previous evening, Anastasiades wrote: “Greece and Cyprus, 200 years later, walk together under conditions of unity. Seeking the fulfilment of our debt to Hellenism, we defend its survival and progress, having as a guide of our own course, the legacy of the vision of the fighters of 1821 for a truly free and prosperous homeland.”
Cypriot fighters in 1821
He presented President Sakelaropoulou with a silver tray depicting the flag of the Cypriot brigade of fighters who took part in the Greek war of independence.
In her response, Sakelaropoulou praised the direct of involvement of Cypriots in the struggle.
“On the side of the Greeks were also Cypriots of the Diaspora who participated in the Friendly Society (Filiki Etaireia) and financially supported the revolution, while many were the brave Cypriot fighters with the most famous being the heroic phalanx of the Cypriots who gave their blood in the battles of ’21”, she said.
On the sidelines of the opening of the refurbished National Gallery in Athens, Anastasiades also met with the Russian premier, whom he briefed on the latest developments in Cyprus and the upcoming informal summit in Geneva on April 27-29.
He appealed to the Russian leadership to exert its own influence on Turkey to join the UN-sponsored meeting “with a positive stance” and thanked Moscow on its firm stance on the Cyprus issue.
The Russian official agreed with President Anastasiades that actions should be avoided that are contrary to international law and negatively affect all attempts to restart the negotiation process, not only at sea, but especially those that are opposed to altering the status of Varoshia. as set out in the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.
Finally, the Anastasiades informed Mishustin of the Cypriot government’s decision to lift the obligation of self-isolation or quarantine of Russian tourists from April 1, as well as about the intention to purchase the Sputnik V vaccines, when obtain the relevant approval from the European Medicines Agency.
At the end, the President invited the Russian Prime Minister to visit Cyprus.