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28-08-2019 19:19

The deliberations of the 20th World Conference of Overseas Cypriots began

The deliberations of the 20th World Conference of Overseas Cypriots by the World Federation of Overseas Cypriots (POMAK), the International Coordinating Committee “Justice for Cyprus” (PSEKA) and the Youth of the World Federation of Overseas Cypriots (NEPOMAK), hosted in Cyprus from 27/8/2019 to 30/8/2019, have begun.

The deliberations of the 20th were declared, last night by the President of the Republic, Mr Nicos Anastasiades, at Filoxenia Conference Center, in Lefkosia.

During the opening ceremony, Presidential Commissioner, Mr Photis Photiou, welcomed the delegated, while the President of the House of Representatives, Mr Demetris Syllouris, Archbishop Chrysostomos II and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece – Minister for Diaspora Greeks, Mr Antonis Diamataris, addressed the ceremony. The President of POMAK, Mr Andreas Papaevripides, the President of PSEKA, Mr Philip Christopher and the President of NEPOMAK, Mr Christos Tuton, also addressed the ceremony, which included an artistic program entitled “NOSTOS” and a tribute to a Cypriot of the homeland, Nikos Mouyiaris. The ceremony ended with a reception hosted by the Presidential Commissioner.

Welcoming the participants, the Presidential Commissioner said: “You are a ‘living cell’ of Hellenism abroad. For you, the homeland is above everyone and everything because Cyprus is your only political party, and this is a true honor. We owe you deep gratitude for the long and tireless efforts you have been making all these years for the struggle of Cyprus Hellenism to find a fair solution to our national problem, but also for your contribution to other important areas, such as the economy, the culture and the social solidarity.

Mr Photiou, underlined the presence of a large number of young people of the Diaspora at the Conference, emphasizing that they constitute a main political priority. “The basis of our efforts includes the utilization of the new Diaspora generation, through specific programmes and actions, such as for example, the active involvement in their community projects, but also in the political life of their place of accommodation, the closer contact to Cyprus, as well as learning Cyprus’ language, history and culture”, he explained.

Referring to the National Strategy, which functions as the operational map for Cyprus Diaspora, he noted the further upgrading of the already close cooperation with Greece, as well as the agreement to reinforce their cooperation on diaspora matters at a bilateral and trilateral level with other countries. More specifically, Mr Photiou referred to the bilateral and trilateral relations with Israel, Armenia, Egypt, Serbia and Romania and added: “We are in the process of signing a memorandum of cooperation with other countries, such as Ireland, Portugal and Italy. The importance of these cooperations in the contemporary world is obvious for the materialization and serving of common interests and aims. In the framework of these cooperations, various common action relating to the youth are included”.

Mr Photiou, also welcomed the group of young people of the Cyprus –Greece – Israel Diaspora who were present as delegates of the Youth Trilateral Conference, in the framework of a trip to all three countries entitled “The Joint root trip for Jews, Greece and Cyprus Diaspora”.

Declaring the deliberations of the Conference, the President of the Republic expressed his gratitude to the Cypriots of the Diaspora as through their actions they raise awareness to other countries’ governments, either in the UK, or in the USA, or in France, or in any other countries they live in.

Moreover, he made a reference to the Cyprus problem stressing that he will not move on to a solution whose only guarantee is the insecurity of Cyprus Hellenism. And added: “Very often it is said that our side does not do what it should. I am wondering whether those who claim this, have thought that during the last 45 years my predecessors have omitted to take action or whether the Greekcypriot side has the responsibility for no settlement to the Cyprus problem so far. Isn’t the Greekcypriots who want to return to their homes more than anyone else? Who are those who through intransigence create negative prerequisites so that no solution could be acceptable. A solution should provide for hope for viability, functionality, duration and guarantee for Greekcypriots and Turkishcypriots. And what takes place in our Exclusive Economic Zone and all the provocations are no signs of good will on behalf of a country that plays a significant role in the solution efforts”.

Further on, President Anastasiades noted that it has become possible to have a meeting with the Turkishcypriot leader, through the intense efforts of the Greekcypriot side, in order to reflect about where we are finally heading to. He said that as a result of the August 9 meeting, the two sides appeared willing to encourage the UN Secretary-General and international players to act towards the resumption of settlement talks. And added: “I would like to express the hope that in this effort we will have the contribution of all those who really care for peace – our friends in Europe and the international organizations. We have no delusions, however we do not stop trying through creating alliances and synergies with other neighboring countries. We are trying with anyway to send the message that our natural resources are another reason for peaceful co-existence, as long as there is respect to the international law.

A politician’s effort, when he finds himself on the exit course, is not how to see his homeland run even more risks, but to see how to provide for future generations and how to leave behind a safe country, guaranteeing peaceful coexistence. I have therefore no reason to refuse to enter into dialogue, or to deny the efforts that need to be made in order to counter the faits accomplis which are being recorded every year, unfortunately to the detriment of the Greekcypriot side. Ι will not press forward with a Cyprus settlement that will cause insecurity to Cypriot Hellenism”.

The President of Cyprus called for unity and said that we should quit various narrations which serve us politically but harm us nationally. He also expressed hope that logic will prevail among those who provoke through illegal activities, not just Cyprus, but also other international players and violate international and European law.

Addressing the event, the President of the House of Representatives, Mr Demetris Syllouris, said that the latest news concerning the Cyprus problem are not encouraging. And added, amongst others: “Turkey not only insists on its intransigent and rigid attitude but raises dangerously the tension, through continuous provocations and illegal activities within the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus. It is clear that these actions are part of its effort to materialize Turkey’s plans to create an influence zone in the Eastern Mediterranean and control of the wider area, using as an excuse, the Turkishcypriot community’s interests”.

Mr Syllouris expressed the hope that President Anastasiades recent meeting with the Turkishcypriot leader and the following steps will be fruitful. “Our side has repeatedly stated that it is ready to contribute effectively in any efforts made. All that remains is to see whether the latest progress will produce substantial results or will be proved to be another strategic move on behalf of the Turkish side”.

The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece – Minister for Diaspora Greeks in his address, said he was moved by the fact he is in Cyprus because as himself an expatriate, he remembers vividly the Turkish invasion in Cyprus. Mr Diamataris recalled the expatriates’ protest and emphasized that the Greeks of the Diaspora never gave up on the struggle for the freedom of Cyprus. Even if at an interior level and at daily life the struggle feeling was influenced from time to time, Hellenism will never give up struggling until the final settlement. He also noted that the Government of Kyriakos Mitsotakis is going to fight to bring Diaspora Greeks closer to Greece by offering them the opportunity to vote at their place of accommodation. 

In his address, delivered by the Principal of the Theological School of the Church of Cyprus, father Kyprianos Kountouris, Archbishop Chrysostomos Β’ underlined the need for a solution to the Cyprus problem, without racist discriminations, without limitations to our rights and without guarantees or invasive rights to Turkey. “A solution that will preserve our national dignity and honour, that will release our island from the presence of the Turkish troops and settlers and that will ensure forever the national and religious survival of our people in their homeland in security and peace”, he mentioned.

From their part, representatives of the organizations of overseas Cypriots pledged to continue their work for the reunification of Cyprus and the termination of the Turkish occupation.

PSEKA President, Mr Philip Christopher expressed hope that the Eastern Mediterranean Partnership will bring the USA closer to the Republic of Cyprus. “It is our hope that Israel, Greece and Cyprus will become the rock of a new foreign policy of the USA” he mentioned. He also expressed gratitude towards the Cyprus Government for its support to the Cypriots Overseas and their efforts in the struggle for solution of the Cyprus problem.

The President of POMAK, Mr Andreas Papaevripides, said that the international community should go beyond exhortations and undertake dynamic measures against Turkey for its provocative actions in Cyprus’ EEZ. «The Turkish attitude during the last months with provocative actions and daily incendiary statements should trouble the international community and apart from the recommendations, we would like to see dynamic measures taken against Turkey – unless they look forward to the revival of the ottoman empire”, he explained.

Amongst others, Mr Papaevripides referred to the intense presence of the youth of the Diaspora at the struggles of the overseas Cypriots towards the reunification of Cyprus. “NEPOMAK has 17 years of action and this guarantees that our aims will be fulfilled”. He also noted the hard work performed by the diaspora at the United Kingdom in order to deal with the Turkish propaganda.

NEPOMAK President, Mr Christos Tuton, welcomed the efforts of the President of Cyprus to resume talks and expressed hope for a positive outcome. “We would like to see Cyprus reunified, where all Cypriots can live together with no foreign occupation, no foreign invasions and no divisions”, he said. Mr Tuton also referred to the activities of NEPOMAK and their importance to the young overseas Cypriots, who are informed regularly about the Cyprus and its political problem and in turn try to raise awareness to other young people in their country of residence about the Cyprus problem. In addition, he made a reference to cooperations developed with universities and other institutions in Cyprus, in order to promote our culture and the acquisition of the Greek language.