Nicosia.- (GreekNewsOnline, CNA)
The people of Cyprus bid on Tuesday farewell to former President, Demetris Christofias, who passed away last Friday at the age of 72. He also served as President of the House of Representatives and leader of Cyprus’ communist party, AKEL. The state funeral took place this afternoon at the Holy Church of God’s Wisdom, in Strovolos.
The President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades and the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras attended the funeral, along with Cabinet members and the President of the House of Representatives Demetris Syllouris.
Foreign diplomats, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Cyprus, delegations from foreign countries, representatives of Greek political parties as well as a delegation from the EP group of the European United Left, also attended.
Many Turkish Cypriot politicians were also present, including a representative of the Turkish Cypriot leader.
The coffin of former President Christofias was carried to the church in a gun carriage procession and was greeted with applause by the crowd that was gathered outside.
The eulogy to former President was read by AKEL’s General Secretary Andros Kyprianou and Christofias’ son, Christos. Kyprianou said in his speech that Demetris Christofias was an international personality who stood in solidarity with the working class around the world.
During his tenure, a number of convergences were achieved for the settlement of the Cyprus problem, which, according to Kyprianou, reflect everything that unites the people of Cyprus living in both sides of the divide, while offering a prospect for the coexistence of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots in the Republic of Cyprus.
From his part, Christos Christofias said that his father bids farewell to this world as an “honest, decent man, with integrity.” He also said that the former President was eager to see the reunification of Cyprus and the return to his home city of Dikomo, now in the Turkish occupied northern part of Cyprus.
After the funeral, the coffin of the former President, covered in the flag of Cyprus, was buried in the cemetery of Engomi.
Earlier in the morning, the remains of former President of Cyprus Demetris Christofias lay in repose in the trade union headquarters of PEO, in Nicosia.
His coffin arrived amid the applause of the crowd that gathered outside PEO premises to pay their respects. On top of the coffin, Christofias’ medals and distinctions were placed. Outside PEO, the flags of Cyprus and AKEL were flown at half-mast.
Ordinary people from all over Cyprus, including many Turkish Cypriots, as well as party officials, diplomats and representatives of foreign delegations lined up to pay their respect.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has said that the memory of former President of Cyprus, and former AKEL leader, Demetris Christofias, who passed away on Friday, will always remain alive “in our common struggle to reunite Cyprus and its people on the basis of a just and viable solution.”
Tsipras signed in the afternoon the Book of Condolences at the Presidential Palace, accompanied by Cyprus President, Nicos Anastasiades, with whom he also had a brief meeting.
Tsipras wrote in the Book of Condolences that “Greece honours Demetris Christofias and his great legacy, his struggle for freedom, independence and social justice. He leaves an indelible imprint on the course of the Republic of Cyprus and its people`s struggle for social justice and welfare. His memory will always remain alive in our common strugle to reunite Cyprus and its people on the basis of a just and viable solution.”
Tsipras was accompanied, among others, by Greek Minister of National Defence Evangelos Apostolakis.
Following the signing of the Book of Condolences, Anastasiades and Tsipras, left with their entourage for the Holy Church of God`s Wisdom in Strovolos, Nicosia, to attend Christofias` funeral.
Earlier, Tsipras paid a visit at the headquarters of AKEL and was received by its Secretary-General Andros Kyprianou.
After signing the book of condolences, Tsipras said that he is in Cyprus in order to pay tribute to a great leader of Cyprus’ Left and a man who dedicated his life to the fight for social justice, progress and for a just and viable Cyprus solution, so that all people of Cyprus, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots may live in peace.
“In the memory of Demetris Christofias, we ought to keep fighting” for social justice and for the resolution of the Cyprus problem, the Greek PM continued.
He said finally that Christofias’ memory will remain alive and “we will always remember him.”