Nicosia.- Overseas Cypriots expressed support to the Cyprus government and the National Council efforts for a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem, calling on all parties to forge unity in support of the Cyprus President’s efforts to overcome Turkish intransigency.
In a resolution approved during the 24th Central Council meetings of POMAK (World Federation of Overseas Cypriots) and PSEKA (International Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus) that took place from 28 to 31 of August, they note that Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots should respect the UN resolutions and abandon their intransigence stance so that a comprehensive settlement, which would lift the fait accompli created by the invasion and occupation would be reached.”
They also condemn “the unacceptable and unilateral decision of the Turkish Cypriot leader who with Ankara’s full support and guidance abandoned the UN-backed direct negotiations launched in September 2008,” calling on the Turkish Cypriot leader and Turkey to commit on the agreed solution basis and return immediately to the negotiating table.
Deploring Turkey’s decision to terminate all contacts with the Council of the EU during the Cyprus EU Presidency, the overseas Cypriots recall the EU General Affairs Council conclusions which expressed regret over “Turkey’s statements to freeze its relations with the EU Presidency during the second half of 2012, and underlines that the Presidency of the Council of the EU is provided for in the Treaty on European Union.”
Overseas Cypriots also deplore Turkey’s gunboat policy within Cyprus’ national waters and Exclusive Economic Zone that disputes Cyprus’ sovereign rights deriving from the international law and the UN Convention on the law of the sea, noting that the international community has acknowledged these rights.
They also welcome the December 2011 EU General Affairs Council conclusions which expressed “serious concern” and urges Turkey to avoid any kind of threat or action directed against a member state, or source of friction or actions, which could damage good neighbourly relations and the peaceful settlement of disputes Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
The organizations of overseas Cypriots in the US and France will seek adoption of their positions on the Cyprus problem by the Jewish and the Armenian lobby, President of the World Federation of Overseas Cypriots (POMAK) Charis Sophoclides has said.
Speaking at a press conference in Nicosia Friday, Sophoclides noted that the Cypriots abroad often do not announce their scheduled contacts and work quietly because they want to produce results and publicizing their meetings often turns to have the opposite outcome.
He said that after Cyprus joined the EU in 2004, the positions of the Republic in the member states are more prominent, noting that the expats’ role is supportive.
Referring to the results of the Council meetings in Nicosia, POMAK President expressed his regret for the fact that the discussions have now shifted towards the economic crisis and the upcoming Presidential elections rather than the continuous Cyprus problem.
He expressed the view that if we achieve cooperation between the opposition and the government, we will be able to promote a Cyprus solution much more effectively.
NEPOMAK President Christos Karaolis said that the deliberations of the Youth meeting are underway and later today a number of resolutions will be adopted.
He referred to a particular NEPOMAK program which is supported by the Youth Organization and the University of Cyprus, via which a total of 50 students visit Cyprus every year and take Greek lessons.
Referring to a distance learning program offered by Open University in Cyprus, Karaolis said that the organization will push for its strengthening.
The opening ceremony of the 24th Central Council meetings of POMAK (World Federation of Overseas Cypriots) and PSEKA (International Coordinating Committee “Justice for Cyprus”) and the 6th General conference of NEPOMAK (World Organisation for Young Overseas Cypriots) took place on Tuesday in Nicosia.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, President of POMAK Haris Sofoklides referred to the contribution of overseas Cypriots to their homeland, especially after the Turkish invasion of 1974. He noted their interventions to the governments of their countries to continue considering the Cyprus issue as a problem of invasion and occupation. He attributed the neutrality of Britain and America on important issues such Cyprus’ accession to the EU to the contribution of overseas Cypriots.
He also referred to the contribution of overseas Cypriots to the enlightenment campaign on the Cyprus issue, for which they spend personal time and resources.
Sofoklides stressed the need to use Cypriots who distinguish themselves abroad for the benefit of the country, particularly in the current economic crisis. He gave as an example the Nobel prize winner Christoforos Pissarides who was only recognized in Cyprus after he was awarded the prize.
He also said that expatriates defend the right of Cyprus to drill and exploit hydrocarbons in its exclusive economic zone.
Addressing the conference, PSEKA Alternate President, Tasos Zambas referred to the organization`s continuous efforts to enlighten about the Cyprus problem around the world, adding that efforts intensified especially under the present circumstances.
The most important part of enlightenment takes place in the USA, he noted, adding that in view of the upcoming presidential elections in the country, PSEKA hopes to influence both candidates for the benefit of Cyprus.
He said that PSEKA plays a unifying role among overseas Cypriots and stressed that under the current circumstances, unity is a national need.
He also noted that overseas Cypriots will accept nothing less than the liberation of Cyprus, which would allow all residents to live in freedom and prosperity.
NEPOMAK President Christos Karaolis noted that the organization celebrates this year its tenth anniversary and said that their vision is the commitment to young Cypriots of the diaspora to promote the common history, the heritage and the culture of Cyprus and the commitment to the people of Cyprus to continue supporting their struggle for a just and viable solution to the Cyprus issue.
“We have succeeded in providing the new generation with opportunities to engage in our roots, learn about our culture and express their passion for our homeland”, he said.
He also said that NEPOMAK continues to focus on providing opportunities to young people to learn the Greek language and become more engaged in Cyprus’ history, heritage and culture.
He welcomed the fact that Cyprus holds now the six monthly rotating presidency of the Council of the EU but expressed anger and frustration that the 26 EU member-states allow Turkey to keep Cyprus divided.
He expressed NEPOMAK’s support to the efforts of the President and the political leadership of Cyprus both for a political settlement and for dealing with the economic crisis.
The President of the Cyprus Youth Organisation Andreas Vyras stressed the importance of the participation of young overseas Cypriots in the enlightenment campaign on the Cyprus issue.
Vyras said that overseas young Cypriots should be active in their local communities, interact, propose, share and exchange views, ideas and concerns with all the people of their generation.
“Developing initiatives, implementing actions, exchanging information and developing a dialogue on issues affecting young people, as well as the empowerment of youth participation in political, social and economic life are our common goals and our common aspirations,” he said.
He added that the cooperation of Cyprus Youth Organisation with Young Overseas Cypriots has been strong since NEPOMAK was founded, always taking into account the best interests of young Overseas Cypriots and the need to promote Cypriot culture among the younger generations.
During the morning session, on Wednesday, overseas federations reviewed their activities and presented their action reports.
Among those who took the floor were President of UK National Federation of Cypriots Peter Droussiotis, Supreme President of the Cyprus Federation of America Peter Papanicolaou, President of the Federation of Cypriot Communities and Brotherhoods of Australia and New Zealand Michalis Christodoulou, President of the Federation of Cypriot Organizations of Greece Costas Stamataris , President of the Cypriot Federation of Canada Athena Charalambides, President of the Federation of Cypriot Communities of Europe Evagoras Mavrommatis, President of the Federation of Cypriots Brotherhoods of South Africa Costas Nicolaou and President of the Federation of Cypriot Brotherhoods of Africa Nestoras Nestoros.
They all stressed the role of overseas Cypriots in promoting the cause of Cyprus abroad as well as the need for the Cypriots, and especially the younger generation, who live abroad to continue contact with Cyprus.
Later on participants were briefed in a closed session by Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou Marcoullis on developments in the Cyprus problem and the latest round of peace talks aiming to reunite the country, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.
Moveover political party leaders or representatives addressed delegates focusing mainly on the Cyprus problem as well as the financial crisis in Cyprus. All of them praised the role of overseas Cypriots in the enlightenment campaign for the Cyprus problem and their efforts to raise awareness in the countries they live about the continuing violation of human rights in Cyprus by Turkey.