Representatives of Greek and Cypriot organisations abroad, gathered in Nicosia on Wednesday for their 17th annual conference focusing on two main topics, the state of the economy and developments in UN-led efforts to find a political settlement.
Delegates from all over the world also discussed their contribution and pledged to continue their support.
President Nicos Anastasiades opened the two-day meeting and during his speech said that despite trouble in the Middle East and the financial problems faced by Cyprus, the government’s priority remained a solution to the Cyprus problem.
“Our priority is to free our occupied territory, the reunification our homeland and the creation of conditions which will allow Cypriots, both Greek and Turkish, to live together peacefully within a modern European state which will allow prosperity and a promising future,” he said.
Referring to a government proposal for the return of Famagusta as a first positive and practical step Turkey could make ahead of a new round of negotiations expected to begin in autumn, Anastasiades said it seemed the proposal was being accepted by the international community.
“It is interpreted as a tangible sign of our will to move the Cyprus issue out of the current deadlock and create the conditions that will give new impetus and momentum to efforts for a comprehensive settlement”, he added.
The Director of the Division of Overseas and Repatriated Cypriots, at the Foreign Ministry Ambassador Marios Ieronymides spoke about the responsibility of Cypriot Hellenism around the world to preserve the vision to liberate Cyprus and seek ways to take Cyprus out of the economic recession.
He commended the efforts of Cypriots abroad who were helping their homeland, and congratulated them on their successes in their adopted countries.
Katie Clerides, Presidential Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs and Affairs of Overseas Cypriots, noted that the presence of overseas Cypriots in Cyprus showed their love for their homeland and their continuous interest in pursuing the common struggle for justice in Cyprus.
“To achieve our goals we must act collectively and unite forces. We need your support also” she stressed.
For the first time, the Turkish invasion and occupation of Cyprus did not feature at the top of the agenda of the meeting, because of the economic crisis, Executive Council of the World Federation of Overseas Cypriots (POMAK) President Haris Sophoclides noted, adding that Cypriots from abroad had gathered to exchange views with the government and the political leadership on the best way to contribute to the recovery of the country’s battered economy.
Philip Christopher, President of the International Coordinating Committee “Justice for Cyprus” (PSEKA), said that although Cyprus was faced with an economic recession it should remain focused on the Cyprus issue.
He urged President Anastasiades to continue building bridges with Israel, the USA and the EU and “stick to the solution that we want”.
He also said that big corporations were interested in investing in a European country.
“Cyprus’ struggle is our struggle. We take part in the struggle for economic recovery, we take part in the struggle to end the Turkish occupation, secure the withdrawal of the Turkish troops and settlers from the island and the return of refugees to their homes” said Christos Karaolis head of the Executive Council of the Organisation of Young Overseas Cypriots, NEPOMAK.