Government Spokesman Attends PSEKA 2008 Conference in Washington, DC
Washington, DC, May 22 – The annual conference of the International Coordinating Committee – Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA) opened here Wednesday with a meeting with Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte and Daniel Fried, Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs and other officials, who briefed delegates on US policy on Cyprus, Greek-Turkish relations and issues concerning the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
In his opening remarks, Cypriot Government Spokesman Stefanos Stefanou informed delegates about the latest developments in the Cyprus issue and President Demetris Christofias’ moves to promote a solution since he was elected President in February this year.
Referring to the significance of Christofias’ meeting on Friday with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, Mr. Stefanou said that it comes at a very crucial time as far as the ongoing discussions between teams of experts from the island’s two communities are concerned.
“We believe that our good intentions will meet up with Mr. Talat’s good will”, the Spokesman said, pointing out that “the aim is to open the road for fully-fledged negotiations, but a pre-requisite is to be certain of the basis of a solution.”
He said “we are committed to try our best to achieve tangible progress at a working level, to justify and support that kind of political negotiation, which, in a spirit of good will, will solve those disputes that cannot be resolved at a lower level”.
The Spokesman dismissed any notion of tight deadlines in the ongoing effort to find a negotiated settlement that will reunite Cyprus, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.
The conference was opened by PSEKA President Philip Christopher, Andrew E. Manatos, President, National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes (CEH) and Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) President Stephanos Tamvakis and other overseas Greeks and Cypriots chair persons and organization representatives.
In their speeches, they underlined their commitment to continue the struggle and upgrade efforts in the US capital. Mr. Christopher noted that the US should not always depend on Turkey’s support since this has proved to be on a number of occasions unreliable. He also stressed the need to develop cooperation with other countries of the region.
Cyprus Ambassador to the United States, Andreas Kakouris hosted a reception in honor of the delegates, which was also attended by Greece’s National Minister of Economy and Finance George Alogoskoufis.
In his speech, Ambassador Kakouris congratulated the PSEKA representatives because despite the lack of progress in the Cyprus issue, they have not stopped working towards the resolution of the Cyprus problem.
“We do not have the luxury to turn our disappointment into apathy,” he added.
Today, the Government Spokesman met with US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Daniel Fried, to discuss recent developments in the Cyprus problem. The two also talked about the outcome of today’s meeting in Cyprus between President of the Republic Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, as part of the ongoing efforts to resume substantive negotiations between the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities. Today’s meeting concludes Mr. Stefanou’s visit to the United States.