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Monday, 16 February, 1998, 01:30 GMT
Cypriot President delivers victory speech

Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides addressed thousands of supporters in Elevtheria Stadium in Nicosia after narrowly winning the run-off vote in Sunday's presidential election.

During his speech, he pledged to form an all-party national unity government to handle the negotiations on reunification and European Union accession.

Frequently interrupted by applause and cheers throughout, he opened his victory speech with a general thank-you to his supporters.

"As the present President of the Republic of Cyprus and the new President for the next five-year term, I hail the Cypriot people and thank them for the trust they showed in my person and for voting for me," Clerides said, in a speech broadcast live by Cyprus TV.

"I thank everyone who honoured me with his vote.

I thank everyone who worked for my election..."The election has ended and now, all together, united, we will wage the battle for saving our country.

For me there are no winners and losers.

Cypriot Hellenism has won.

We will continue, we will continue, in creating a national unity government from all Cypriot parties." He said he would even apply to the Restorative Party of the Working People, AKEL, at which point the crowd jeered instead of applauding.

Clerides won 50.8 per cent of the vote in the presidential run-off, while his rival challenger - former foreign minister Yeoryios Iakovou, won 49.2 per cent.

"Cypriot Hellenism must be united in the coming struggle to get rid of the occupation troops, to reunite our divided country, to return to our refugees' ancestral homes," Clerides continued.

"To achieve all of this, we need the biggest possible unity Cyprus can offer.

We will work for this unity and proceed with our head high.

We will look to the future with national pride." "We will continue with the joint defence doctrine, with our course towards the united Europe, with our close cooperation with the Greek Government.

In a telephone conversation tonight with the Greek Prime Minister, we both reiterated that we will continue to cooperate in the same manner, with the same tactics, always having Cyprus' best national interest as our compass." "Tonight we are entering a new course, we are entering the course that will take us to Europe, we are entering the course that will reinforce us in our struggle for a fair, viable, and functional solution of our national problem." "People who have gathered here tonight, I am gathering courage from your dynamism.

I promise before you that I will not hand over to future generations a smaller country." "United, never defeated.

We will not allow division to bring more misfortunes upon the Cypriot Hellenism.

We are looking forward.

We are moving forward with steady and dynamic steps.

United, united, united, never defeated." "I believe that you, the pioneers of this struggle, tonight must disperse with order and decency to give the example that when we talk about being united we mean it, to give the example that we are entering Europe and that we are Europeans.

Let us all shout together hooray Cyprus," he said, at which point the crowd cheered some more and sang the national anthem.

BBC Monitoring (http://www.monitor.bbc.co.uk), based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.


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