President Spyros Kyprianou said yesterday that he appreciated President Anwar Sadat's strong feeling about the death of the Egyptian commandos at Larnaca Airport but hoped Egypt would respond to his efforts to heal the rift between the two countries.
"I wish to reassure Mr. Sadat that I shall make ever effort for the restoration of relations between our two governments, and the warming up of the brotherly feelings that always linked our two peoples," Kyprianou said in a statement.
Kyprianou said he was hurt by Sadat's calling him a "dwarf" but said he overlooked it because "it is not proper for heads of state to exchange insults."
The Cypriot leader rejected a demand by Sadat that the two terrorists, now in police custody, be handed over to Egypt.
The two "will be tried with absolute respect for the laws of the state, and for the truth and with all the strictness necessiated by the heinous crime committed and subsequent events as a result of which so many lives were endangered," he said.
Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, who does not recognize Kyprianou as president of the island nation, praised Sadat's decision to break relations and said Egypt was welcome to move its embassy from the Greek to the Turkish sector.
In Athens, Greek Premier Constantine Karamanlis appealed to both sides to clear up "misunderstandings." He said it was "evident that both governments became involved in an adventure because of events beyond their control."