Support for war-ravaged Ukraine cannot be subjected to preconditions, despite Cyprus’ disappointment over Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s failure to mention the Turkish invasion when addressing Cypriot MPs, said House Speaker Annita Demetriou.
Zelensky’s long-awaited landmark address to the Cyprus Parliament had left a bitter taste, compounded by the fact the live connection was lost midway through Demetriou’s response as she referred to the Turkish invasion.
Demetriou said the Ukrainian ambassador to Nicosia had sent a letter clearing the air, attributing the disconnection to a technical error.
The Ukrainian ambassador extended Zelensky’s apologies and hoped the incident would not impact the relationship between the two countries.
“On our part, we clarified that we would continue to be consistent in matters of principle,” said Demetriou.
She said that following her reply (to Zelensky), she has received several invitations to talk about the Cyprus issue at other parliaments.
Demetriou argued that Zelensky’s address to the Cypriot Parliament, which Turkey does not recognise, “adds value to this diplomatic move”.
“Of course, we use every platform and opportunity to draw attention to what is happening here in Cyprus.
“That Cyprus is still under occupation and our only concern is to try, through a peaceful settlement and dialogue, to reach the solution that this island deserves.
“Our support cannot be subjected to terms and preconditions.
“We are consistent in matters of principle, we are clearly in line with the rule of law, with the decisions taken at a European Union level, and we will continue to do so”.
Zelensky’s address last Thursday left a bitter aftertaste with the political establishment.
What was expected to be a moment of solidarity turned sour, especially after President Nicos Anastasiades – who attended the session – criticised the speech.
He did not hide his dissatisfaction over Zelensky’s omission to mention the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.
“We are disturbed by the fact that there was no reference,” said Anastasiades after leaving Parliament.
“Of course, this should have been done. I want to be straightforward and categorical.
“We expected to hear what the Ukrainian people are suffering now is what we ourselves also suffered in 1974.
“The rule of law does not distinguish between states, and the rights of some being violated, but the rights of others ignored.”