Soldiers of Cypriot National Guard march on a military parade celebrating the 58th Independence Day of Cyprus in Nicosia, Cyprus, on Oct. 1, 2018. Cyprus marked its 58th Independence Day with a military parade in Nicosia, Cyprus, on Oct. 1, 2018. (Xinhua/PIO)
NICOSIA, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) -- The eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus celebrated 58 years of independence on Monday, of which the last 44 have been marked by the occupation of the northern part of the island by Turkish troops.
"We have a divided country, but on the other hand, we have a state which has managed through hard work and sacrifice of the Cypriot people to prosper, to become an EU (European Union) member and to look to the future with optimism," Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said in remarks after a military parade.
Anastasiades said that in order to have hope for the future, Cyprus needs to become a modern state, in which human rights and freedoms are enjoyed by all citizens, Greek and Turkish Cypriots alike, after the foreign military occupation comes to an end.
He was referring to the occupation by Turkish troops since the 1974 military operation in reaction to a coup engineered by the then military rulers of Greece, and the insistence of Turkey to retain troops in a new federal Cypriot state sought in United Nations (UN)-led negotiations.
The four-decade long negotiations came to an unsuccessful end in July 2017, and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is trying to ascertain whether there are prospects for a solution in a new final round of talks.
Anastasiades said last week after meeting with Guterres in New York that a UN official who acts as the personal envoy of the Secretary General may hold further consultations with all parties involved before a decision is made on further negotiations.
Cyprus became independent on Aug. 16, 1960, when a century of British colonial rule came to an end.
Oct. 1 was chosen as the official Independence Day to avoid celebrations in scorching temperatures, which top 40 degrees Centigrade in mid-August.