WASHINGTON.- Delegates at the 15th annual International Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA)/World Council of Hellenes (SAE) Cyprus conference in Washington called for a common line outlining the changes required to the Annan Plan for a solution to the Cyprus problem. They also stressed the need to make governments aware that the people of Cyprus are not against a settlement, even though they said ”no” to the Annan Plan which did not address their concerns.
PSEKA President Philip Christopher criticized US administration officials for taking the result of the referendum “personally” because they kept reassuring the heads of their department that the result of the referenda would be positive in both communities in Cyprus.
“We need to change the negative picture in Washington, that Greek Cypriots do not want a solution,” said SAE President Andrew Athens.
Most delegates called for a unified position on the changes necessary to the Annan Plan and welcomed a suggestion by PSEKA Acting President Savvas Tsivikos for a joint statement issued at the end of the conference, outlining the aims of overseas Greeks and Cypriots.
They also talked about the need to fully exploit the capabilities which the Greek – American community has to offer as far as funds and votes is concerned, on the eve of the US presidential elections.
During the PSEKA deliberations, Ambassador Stuard Eizenstat, told delegates that there is real anger in the Bush administration following the result of the referendum in Cyprus, something that needs to be handled.
Overseas Greeks said they agree that the US administration should not stop the dialogue with the organizations, because they should be in a position at a later stage when conditions improve, to be able to play a positive role.
Cyprus Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides told the PSEKA Conference that the main aim should be to explain to international community that the free and democratic will of Greek Cypriots was expressed in the referendum and to resume efforts towards the island’s reunification.
Meanwhile, Government Spokesman Chrysostomides told the Voice of America radio and television that the aim of the Greek Cypriot side is the island’s reunification and for Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to mutually enjoy the benefits of accession to the EU. The Cypriot official said he understands the international disappointment because a solution to the Cyprus problem could not be achieved but stressed that even the Greek Cypriots are also disappointed.
He said the prospect now is that we are moving ahead towards a solution to the Cyprus problem, with measures to reinforce Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriot side was the first to announce them.
On the island’s accession to the EU, the Spokesman said that the people of Cyprus are really proud for the island’s accession which was officially completed on the 1st of May, pointing out that it is just as important as the island’s independence in 1960.
On the result of the referendum in the Greek Cypriot side, Chrysostomides said that “we are the first to be disappointed because our country’s reunification did not become feasible so that the island could enter the EU without difficulties”.
“The aim always remains Cyprus’ reunification and to enjoy the benefits of accession for all Cypriots, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots”, he added.
In a speech at a receptiont hosted by Cyprus’ Ambassador to the US, Euripides Evriviades, State Department Coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Weston expressed his disappointment for developments in Cyprus, but stressed that the fundamental aim of all the efforts was Cyprus’ accession to the EU, which became a reality on 1st of May.
Referring to the result of the 24 April referenda and the rejection of the Annan Plan by the Greek Cypriots, Weston said that the negative result was due to the concerns of the Greek Cypriots on security issues, which he shares. At the same time, he expressed hope that accession to the EU will give the people the feeling of security to find the strength to move forward.
He also said that the aim to find a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem has become very difficult following recent developments, stressing at the same time that the central direction should not be lost and the main weapon in this effort is Cyprus’ unconditional accession to the EU.
Weston thanked overseas Greek Americans for their efforts in bringing the Cyprus problem at the top of the US administration foreign affairs agenda.