Full Text of President's Speech to Nation
I address you at very difficult times. We are still burying our children, the children of Cyprus, from the tragedy of the disastrous explosion at the Marine Base at Mari.
The pain is great for all of us. But even greater is the pain and the suffering of the families and the relatives of those who heroically gave their life in the line of duty. From the bottom of our heart we express our sincere and deep-felt condolences and our unwavering support, although we are aware that nothing can bring back their loved ones.
We all demand the full investigation of the circumstances, causes and reasons that ultimately caused this great tragedy. We all demand the identification and attribution of the responsibilities wherever they may be found, from the lowest to the highest level. The responsibilities, I assure you, will be attributed and assumed.
Today, the Council of Ministers decided to appoint distinguished legal counsel Mr Polys Polyviou to head the single-member investigative committee. His responsibility will be to investigate with speed and effectiveness all aspects and events of the tragedy, without exception.
At the same time, as is already known, the Police have been assigned, under the direct supervision of the Attorney General, to investigate any criminal responsibilities which may exist.
We are determined to fully investigate and to resolve this tragedy and to attribute responsibilities.
This will create the conditions to restore the trust of the people towards the state and its institutions, which has been shaken by the tragic events at Mari.
It is the obligation of all to work collectively in order to restore the trust of the people in the institutions and the political system. This can firstly be achieved by supporting the institutions and laws and not by undermining and nullifying them.
The responsibilities must be attributed through procedures that are provided by the Constitution and the Laws. No one can declare themselves a Judge, to judge and convict others. Neither can extremist nationalist ultra-rightist groups exploit human suffering and the bitterness of the people in order to stir riot, to attempt to burn the Presidential Palace and to tarnish peaceful demonstrations that constitute a democratic right of the people which we both respect and defend.
Whoever the President may be, it is not permissible for the Presidential Palace to become a target and for disturbances to be provoked which are reminiscent of traumatic times for the country, which left their imprint on the Presidential Palace which was destroyed by the Junta and EOKA B’ and by the Turkish invasion and the occupation that followed. The existence of normality is a collective responsibility.
Before us lies the pressing duty to address the problems that have been caused by the tragedy. All state Services are working intensively to tackle the problems. Problems that aggravate the already difficult state of the economy. We are working intensively to address the repercussions on the economy of the country.
We are working intensively to make the best use of every possibility and every assistance that is offered to our country. We have already appealed to the European Union requesting assistance within the framework of community solidarity. Several friendly countries have offered to help Cyprus. We extend our warmest thanks to them.
State Services have been fully mobilized for the restoration of damages to houses, buildings and property of our compatriots.
We share and understand the disappointment, the bitterness and even the anger of the people. However, we have a duty to be calm and collected, to respect procedures and to look ahead. With unity and collective effort. Ahead of us we have the continuation of the negotiations on the Cyprus problem, which have been intensified after the meeting held with the UN Secretary General in Geneva. Ahead of us we have the Presidency of the European Union, for the success of which we must continue our preparations.
The reference to the negotiations on the Cyprus problem and the European Union Presidency are not an alibi for the situation which has been created and for the responsibilities that exist. We shall continue our efforts on these issues as well as on all other aspects of governance, while waiting for the results of the investigation and then we will address the people again accordingly.
Once more I express my sincere and heartfelt condolences to the families of our children who were so needlessly lost. I call on everybody to face the situation that has been created united.