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Overseas Cypriots pledge to continue efforts for a Cyprus settlement
2003-08-25 23:10:28

Nicosia, Aug 25 (CNA) -- Overseas Cypriots assured here Monday they will continue in a more coordinated manner, along with the Cyprus government, the common struggle for a solution of the protracted Cyprus problem.

The assurances were given during the Overseas Cypriots' World Congress which President of the Republic Tassos Papadoupoulos opened on Monday in the presence of members of his Cabinet, representatives of the Greek government and the Greek parliament, leaders or representatives of Cypriot political parties, Kykkos Bishop Nikiforos on behalf of the Cyprus Orthodox Church and high-ranking officials of Cypriots and Hellenes abroad.|

Addressing the congress Foreign Minister Georgios Iacovou said the Overseas Cypriots Division at his ministry will be upgraded while an advisory board will be in touch with the overseas Cypriots organisations in an effort to solve the problems the communities face.

As regards the Cyprus problem, he noted that efforts to end the unacceptable international illegality on the island continue to stumble on the continuing Turkish intransigence.

Iacovou praised the unequivocal support which Greece offers to Cyprus' just cause, expressing ''the great appreciation we feel for the effort made on the part of the Greek government, the Greek people and Greeks wherever they live for the reunification of our island, under conditions of freedom, security and democracy for all its inhabitants''.

As regards overseas Cypriots he noted that their presence here indicates not only their appreciation but also their continued interest and love for their country.

World Federation of Cypriots President (POMAK) Haris Sofoklides expressed the need for a better and closer cooperation with governmental and non-governmental organisations to promote Cyprus' national issue and to tackle more effectively problems of overseas Cypriots.

He also noted that the upgrading of the Overseas Cypriots Division proves the government's interest and the work it carries out in fully responding to the needs of Cypriots of diaspora.

International Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA) President Philip Christopher said ''Cyprus and its people deserve nothing less than what Europeans, Americans and other freedom loving countries enjoy.''

''Today as Cyprus is a member of the EU there are new doors and new windows of opportunity that should be explored in regards of the solution of the Cyprus problem,'' Christopher noted.

He also noted that the recent easing of restrictions in the freedom of movement ''has created some perceptions in political circles in our countries,'' that the Cyprus problem has been solved and said ''our conference comes at a critical time'' adding that ''we are here to receive your advice as to how we move forward from this point on''.

World Council of Hellenes (SAE) President Andrew Athens referring to the Cyprus problem said ''we would have been at a great disadvantage and probably much worse if we had not struggled all these years. The tree of liberty and justice does sprout fully grown. It needs nourishment and steady growth, long struggles and sacrifices,'' he added.

''All of us we'd like to leave here with a clear and precise idea of what we should do and what direction we should take. United we will further our cause,'' Athens said calling on overseas Cypriots and Hellenes to be united.

Gregoris Niotis, President of the Special Interparliamentary Committee of the Greek Parliament on Overseas Greeks said that the Annan plan is the only "fundamental basis to settle the Cyprus problem" and warned of the dangers in the event it is abandoned, adding however that the plan must be changed.

He also noted that the recent signing of the so-called framework "agreement" of ''customs union'' between Turkey and the illegal regime in the occupied north of Cyprus constitutes "a flagrant violation of the principles of international law and principles and decisions of the EU" and expressed the wish that a new effort for the resumption of talks will be made in autumn.

Niotis expressed the Greek government's support in efforts to solve the Cyprus issue and conveyed President of the Greek Parliament, Apostolos Kaklamanis' solidarity.

Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Ioannis Magriotis underlined that Turkey's EU course goes through Nicosia and Athens, the solution of the Cyprus problem and the Greco-Turkish disputes.

He pointed out that the signing of the so-called framework agreement of ''customs union'' between Turkey and the illegal regime creates statutory implications and drives Turkey away from its goal to start accession negotiations with the EU.

POMAK youth organisation President Menikos Kouvaros, elected last year, said they have put in effect an Internet forum to communicate and coordinate the activities of young people around the world and so far have received over 1400 messages.

He also noted that overseas Cypriot youth are in contact with the Cyprus government and the University of Cyprus to help young people to learn the Greek language.

Kykkos Bishop Nikiforos referred to the Cypriot youth of Diaspora and described the organising of their first congress here this week, hopeful.

As regards the Cyprus problem he noted that a wrong solution would constitute "an open wound" threatening Hellenism with new adventures. He said the Church supports Turkish Cypriots in the goal for a common homeland, free and without any occupation troops.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.

CNA/MK/EC/2003
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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