Cyprus marked the 60th anniversary of its independence on Thursday with a military parade although festivities were kept to the minimum due to the social distancing measures in place.
Participating in the parade were motorized and infantry divisions and fighter aircraft of the National Guard.
President Nicos Anastasiades, speaking on Wednesday, said that the independence anniversary finds Cyprus in a particularly difficult situation “as we are undoubtedly going through one of the most critical periods of our 60 years of existence.”
He spoke of the challenges that Cyprus is facing due to Turkey’s illegal drillings in the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone and to threats for the imminent opening of the fenced city of Varosha under Turkish military control.
“That is why we are exhausting all means available through a diplomatic marathon of bilateral contacts, always in close consultation with our partners in the EU, Greece, the US and other friendly countries which share our position and have repeatedly condemned Turkey’s actions,” Anastasiades added.
On behalf of the USA, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo offered his congratulations to Cyprus.
“The United States and the Republic of Cyprus enjoy a robust and growing diplomatic, security, and economic partnership, which I was pleased to observe firsthand during my September 12 visit,” he noted.
“The United States sees the Republic of Cyprus as a valued partner in our efforts to promote regional security and prosperity, and to curb the efforts of malign regional actors in the Eastern Mediterranean such as Russia,” Pompeo added.
Cyprus did not celebrate independence day as a national holiday until 1979, 19 years after independence from British rule. In fact, Cyprus actually became independent on August 16, 1960. Commemorations were moved to October 1 in the early 1960s to avoid the hot summer holiday season.
The Republic of Cyprus turns 60 today #CyprusIndependenceDaypic.twitter.com/PWZWSxYQXc
— Harry Theocharous (@TheocharousH) October 1, 2020