Canadian Veterans Receive Hero's Welcome in Cyprus

Delegation led by Minister Fantino complete trip where they were honoured by respect and thanks of Cypriot community

NICOSIA, Cyprus, March 19, 2014 /CNW/ - Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs, and a delegation of 10 Canadian Veterans have received a hero's welcome from Cypriots thankful for Canada's sacrifices during the 50 year mission. The group is participating in commemorative ceremonies in Cyprus in recognition of Canada's work to support peace and stability in the Mediterranean nation. The year 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the beginning of Canadian efforts in Cyprus. The visit supports efforts to bring about a greater understanding of the achievements of Canada's modern-day Veterans.

Minister Fantino met with His Excellency, President Nicos Anastasiades, where he reaffirmed Canada's commitment to reaching a long-term peaceful settlement in Cyprus. Minister Fantino also met with His Excellency Yiorgos Laktotrypis, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, His Excellency Tasos Mitsopoulos, Minister of Defence, and His Excellency, Ioannis Kasoulides, Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The Canadian delegation of Veterans has generated significant interest among Cypriots, with local and international media all eager to share the stories of Canada's men and women in uniform.

While in Cyprus, Minister Fantino and Canadian Veterans also met the last rotation of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel returning from Afghanistan to take part in decompression in Cyprus.

Quick Facts

  • Since 1964, more than 25,000 Canadian Armed Forces members have served in Cyprus, 28 of whom lost their lives in the service of peace
  • The operation in Cyprus, from 1964 to today, is one of Canada's longest and best-known overseas military commitments
  • A large Canadian contingent served on the island from 1964 to 1993. A small Canadian Armed Forces presence remains there today as United Nations peace efforts continue
  • Veterans Affairs Canada, through the New Veterans Charter, has enhanced its rehabilitation services to ensure Veterans can improve health to the fullest extent possible

Quotes
"Seeing the connection between Canadian Veterans of Cyprus and members of the current UN mission was an honour. The respect of both the Cypriot community and current peacekeepers for Canada's contribution is immense.  We must ensure that we - and future generations - never forget their sacrifice. In particular we must be forever grateful for the 28 Canadians who lost their lives in Cyprus."
The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs

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SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada

For further information:

David Pierce
Director of Parliamentary Affairs
Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
613-996-4649

Media Relations
Veterans Affairs Canada
613-992-7468