On 8th July last, the Republic of Cyprus subscribed to the Maria Dolens Peace Protocol. We publish the speech given for the occasion by Ambassador Yiorgos Christofides.

Allow me to thank first of all the Reggente della Fondazione, my dear colleague and I dare to say friend Ambassador Marsilli for reaching out to me and proposing that Cyprus becomes the 103rd member of the Foundation. I, of course, immediately received instructions from my Government to accept his proposal since Cyprus, as a small island state with a rich history that unfortunately was often accompanied with quite a great deal of suffering, deeply comprehends and attributes the utmost value to the ideals of peace and fraternity.

I stand before you today at a site of historical significance for Italy and Europe. I stand before you to pay my respects on behalf of the Government and the people of Cyprus to all those that have fallen during the Great War but also to all wars.

To any war, for no war is a just war. No war can bring benefits to humanity and the use of arms cannot and should not be considered as a means of resolving differences between nations.

At these challenging times for Europe, the ideals of the Foundation gain obviously greater significance anew. As Europeans and as peace loving nations we all follow with extreme sense of concern what is happening for months now in Ukraine. War and instability is knocking once more on Europe’s door. And this reality has forced us all to remember, and indeed has violently made us comprehend that peace and stability cannot and should not be taken for granted. Europe suffered greatly in the past. Equally, Europe was lucky enough to be led by visionaries that understood all too well that peace and stability can only be ensured through cooperation and the cultivation of a common sense of belonging. It was exactly on that basis the European Union was born of which Cyprus has been a proud members for 18 years now.

However, the European Union ought to continue to view itself as a guarantor of peace, stability and prosperity for the European continent. Now more than ever, our sense of unity and solidarity cannot but be our guiding principle. In order to make sure that war and suffering ceases on the European continent and that the might of the law prevails over the might of force. International law, for the development of which great steps were made in the aftermath of the First World War, is there and needs to be respected in its entirety. Respect for international legality cannot be on an “a la carte” basis, irrespective of a country’s size or strength. And peace can be guaranteed only when disputes are settled by peaceful means. We Europeans know that all too well.

Those that have fallen and lay here remind us of this. This monumental bell, cast from the metal of guns used during the War strikes to remind us all of our responsibility. Our joint responsibility to remember. Remember those that have suffered and fell and cherish what their sacrifice has given us. The privilege to live in peace and be able to dream of a bright future for our children.

Europe is indeed facing challenging times. The sovereignty and territorial integrity of a European country is under threat. Atrocities are being perpetrated and human rights are being violated to a scale that no civilized person could ever tolerate. As Cyprus we stand in full solidarity with Ukraine and its people. Besides, we know all too well what it means to be attacked by a powerful neighbour who tries to conceal its imperialist and revisionist aims under the cloak of conducting a so – called peace operation.

I would be remiss if, in such a context, I didn’t recall and dedicate a few words of what my country has gone through. Cyprus was militarily invaded 48 years ago and part of its territory is still illegally occupied by Turkey. For Cypriots, the indiscriminate killings, the mass violation of human rights, the hundreds of thousands of refugees and the thousands of persons still missing are not issues of the distant past. They are the memories of our childhood and the reality we still have to live with. Our utmost priority remains reaching a just and viable settlement to the Cyprus problem that will ensure the respect of the human rights and fundamental freedom of all Cypriots.

That is why I stand here before you, honoured and humbled in being given the opportunity to mark with you Cyprus’ accession to the ideals of the Fondazione Campana Dei Caduti. As the Ambassador of a country whose only weapon and sole comfort has always been international legality and the solidarity of all other law abiding nations, I am honoured to declare my country’s adherence to the ideals of the Magna Carta of Maria Dolens. Cyprus is proud to be officially joining today the global family of nations that are members of this noble Foundation.

Today, at this site of historical and symbolic significance, while the flag of Cyprus is being raised to mark our adherence to the universal values of promotion of peace and fraternity, I express once again the hope of my Government for peace and stability to prevail, in Europe, in our Eastern Mediterranean region and beyond. And primarily for a solution to be found to the Cyprus problem so that justice, peace, security and the respect of human rights be our legacy to future generations.

I thank you once again for the honour and for being here today to mark with us this auspicious occasion.


From left: the Foundation’s Regent, Marco Marsilli, Government Commissioner Gianfranco Bernabei, the Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus, Yiorgos Christofides, and the Vice-mayor of Rovereto, Giulia Robol

The Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus, Yiorgos Christofides, and the Foundation’s Regent, Marco Marsilli

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