The kidnapped son of the President of Cyprus was reunited with his family on Sunday (18 December) after being released unharmed by his abductors who are believed to belong to the EOKA-B group of terrorists who seek the union of Cyprus with Greece.
GV Kyprianou's son walking through crowds (2 shots)
MV INT president Kyprianou making statement seated with his wife and son (2 shots)
CU Achilleas Kyprianou speaking (3 shots)
Mrs. Kyprianou watching son answer questions
MV Mrs. Kyprianou making statement
REPORTER: "Bourbon street where President Kyprianou and his family life. Waiting to give young Achilleas a hero's welcome."
PRESIDENT KYPRIANOU: "I wish to express my thanks and my gratitude to all those who have stood on our side during the time of our trial. As a father, I am happy that my son is back. As President I am even more happy because his return means normality. It means peace, it means that democracy has won the battle against violence."
REPORTER: "Did you believe they would carry out their threat to kill you?"
ACHILIEAS KYPRIANOU: "At the beginning I was almost sure they would have executed me. And I have asked them as a reserve officer of commando forces to be executed with dignity. But later on I could say that I started to hope that they would not carry out their plans. I was in a hole under ground."
REPORTER: "A hole in the ground?"
ACHILLEAS KYPRIANOU: "Yes."
REPORTER: "without shelter from the wind and the rain?"
ACHILLEAS KYPRIANOU: "No it was a bunker shelter. The duty of an officer especially a Commando officer is to try to escape."
MRS. KYPRIANOU: "Well of course I was crying out of happiness. And I thought it was the best present I ever had in my life."
The Cyprus government refused to negotiate on the kidnappers' demands but were reported to have offered them a safe conduct out of the country, if they freed Lieutenant Kyprianou. The kidnappers set two deadlines for the Lieutenant's death. Both passed. President Kyprianou said "I can sacrifice my son, but not my country."
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Background: The kidnapped son of the President of Cyprus was reunited with his family on Sunday (18 December) after being released unharmed by his abductors who are believed to belong to the EOKA-B group of terrorists who seek the union of Cyprus with Greece. The kidnappers had demanded the pardon of all members of EOK-B at large, or in prison, or Achilleas Kyprianou would die. BBC reporter John Bierman begins the report.