Overseas Cypriots meet in Limassol
Limassol, Aug 24 – Overseas Cypriots began their 4-day, 15th annual conference in Limassol on Wednesday with the participation of 150 delegates of the two main overseas organizations: POMAK (World Federation of Overseas Cypriots) and PSEKA (International Coordinating Committee - Justice for Cyprus), led by their respective presidents Haris Sofoklides and Philip Christopher.
Addressing them, Foreign Minister George Iacovou underlined the excellent cooperation of his ministry with POMAK and PSEKA and added: “The Foreign Ministry, having full knowledge of the national significance which our overseas compatriots have, has proceeded with the upgrading of the Overseas Cypriots Division and our intention is to continue towards that direction".
POMAK president Sofoklides referred to the efforts of overseas Cypriots in the UK and the US to achieve a change in their pro-turkish policy, as he said, noting that in the “past months we have ascertained an understanding and a small shift in their positions”.
“As American, British and European voters we can make full use of the contacts, power and influence we have”, he said, noting that “we will continue tirelessly to stress that the Annan Plan was rejected because it contained divisive provisions that serve only Turkey and not the interests of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, and that we want talks to begin the soonest, without deadlines and a tight framework or arbitration and we will accept only an agreed solution," he said.
PSEKA leader Philip Christopher said overseas Cypriots worked hard this past year and were able to “neutralize the vicious propaganda and public relations campaign of Turkey, led by two powerful congressmen”.
He said he hoped that the conference will conclude with a united voice that “we can now say that if the Annan Plan is not dead, it needs substantive changes to make it viable”.
SAE leader Andrew Athens, in his remarks said, “internationally, we have experienced many signs of progress supported by those who recognise the righteousness of our cause, both in the EU and in Washington”.
However, he said: “In Washington, we have experienced a diminishing of the effectiveness of our organised efforts”. Athens underlined that the experiment of assigning the lobbying effort to non-Hellenes has produced no results; in fact it has lowered our effectiveness, even within Congress were we have traditionally enjoyed steady support”.