Cyprus, Greece and Egypt sign cooperation protocol on diaspora project

Cyprus, Greece and Egypt signed on Tuesday a cooperation protocol on the project ?ostos, the Return, to be held in Alexandria, Egypt in March that aims to bring back to the Egyptian city Cypriots and Greeks who used to live there in the past.

The project is an initiative of the Minister of Minister of Immigration and Expatriates Affairs of Egypt Nabila Makram, who visited Cyprus and along with Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece Terence Quick, had consultations with Cyprus’ Presidential Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs and Overseas Cypriots Photis Photiou, as part of the tripartite cooperation of the three countries on diaspora issues.

Following the signing of the protocol, Photiou said it was a historic moment for the three countries, since it was the first time that cooperation on diaspora was achieved and the first time the three countries decided on a common strategy and joint actions.

He added that diaspora issues are among the most important tools for the broader tripartite cooperation among the countries.

The “Nostos” programme aims at gathering, in Alexandria, Cypriots and Greeks or their descendants, for a return trip to the place where they or their ancestors lived, he noted.

Photiou thanked the Egyptian Minister for her initiative and said that he hopes the leaders of the three states will join the event next March.

He also said that they agreed on a number of other issues, to bring diaspora youth closer and that young people from Cyprus, Greece and Egypt living abroad will soon visit the three countries.

He noted that they agreed to have a better cooperation in relation to universities in order to give scholarships to young people from the three countries living abroad.

He added that the three countries are also joining forces to promote their interests in powerful decision-making centers, such as in USA, UK, France and Canada, where the three countries have strong communities.

The Egyptian Minister said that the signing of the protocol for the project Nostos the return marks a historic day for the three countries. As she said, merging the three diasporas and working together to promote tourism and investment and deliver messages of peace is something new, and she is very honoured and happy to be part of this project.

She added that the signing of the protocol is a dream that comes true after long discussions and much work by the three officials and pointed out the importance of signing it in Nicosia, where a trilateral meeting among the leaders of the three countries that took place last month.

Makram noted that Photiou, Quick and herself will have many meeting until March with a view to collect all the necessary information for the people who will participate in the project. She also noted that there is already strong interest from Greeks and Cypriots who wish to participate in the project.

Makram also said that the three countries are trying to build ties with the diaspora youth, second and third-generation youth.

Greek Deputy Foreign Minister said that he considers Nostos project extremely important because, as he said, under the auspices of the President of Egypt Sisi, Alexandria is emerging as one of the largest Hellenistic cultural historical centres in the Mediterranean.

The project, he added, has been embraced by both himself and Photiou and they were very pleased when it was announced at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia by both the Presidents of Cyprus and Egypt and the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

Quick, pointed out that diaspora is one of the most useful tools in the tripartite partnerships that the three countries have in many fields.

He also said that both Hellenism and Egypt have highly respected people in many countries at all fields, including businessmen, politicians, scientists, and expressed the view that with the collaboration of the diaspora they can achieve very important things and promote national issues of their countries.

He also recalled that Cyprus, Greece and Egypt are pillars of stability in the region in an area that has a lot of problems. He said that particular emphasis would be placed on the networking of universities with the help of the diaspora.

The next tripartite meeting will be held in Athens to examine the details of the event that will take place in Alexandria.

Source: Cyprus News Agency