Cyprus to expand cooperation with friendly countries on diaspora says Commissioner on Overseas Cypriots

Cyprus has strengthened its multilevel cooperation with friendly countries on issues of Diaspora and plans to sign a new memorandum of cooperation between Cyprus, Greece and Lebanon as soon as the conditions allow, Presidential Commissioner for Humanitarian Issues and Overseas Cypriots Fotis Fotiou said on Tuesday.


He also stressed that the issue of missing persons of Cyprus remains an open wound, speaking at the World Conference of Cypriots of the Diaspora, held for the first time via videoconference due to Covid-19 pandemic.


Fotiou expressed his appreciation for the role of expatriates Cypriots, stressing that they promote Cyprus’ national identity and culture forming the continuation of the dynamic presence of the Cypriot Hellenism abroad. He also stressed that diaspora youth “is the future” and stressed Cyprus efforts to strengthen contacts and collaborations with young people of other ethnicities, especially in the communities and countries with which they have established and promote special collaborations.


He also pointed out that Cyprus, has strengthen its cooperation with friendly countries on diaspora issues.


“A very important chapter of our National Strategy for the Diaspora is the bilateral and trilateral cooperation we have with Israel, Egypt, Armenia and other countries. The signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation on Diaspora Issues between Cyprus, Greece and Lebanon is planned as soon as the conditions allow.”, he noted.


He also said that close cooperation with the wider Greek Hellenism was the main priority, especially during that period with the illegal and provocative actions of Turkey in the wider region of the Eastern Mediterranean.


Actions, as Fotiou said, that negatively affect the efforts to resolve Cyprus long-standing issue, with the consequences of Turkish invasion continuing to be an open wound for the island and its people.


Referring to the issue of Cyprus’ missing persons, Fotiou said that it remains an open wound for many years with heavy responsibilities of Turkey towards the families of the missing.


As he noted as time goes on, many of the relatives of missing persons complete their life cycle and leave, with unanswered questions about the fate of their loved ones. He pointed out that Cyprus Republic’s motives on the issue are humanitarian, contrary to those of Turkey, that tries to hide its barbaric actions during 1974 invasion.


” Of the 1,510 cases initially registered in the missing persons list, most are still pending. 810 Greek Cypriots and Greeks are still missing after 46 years. And this, while there is a risk, due to the attitude of the occupying power, that the situation will fall into a quagmire that will leave unanswered the questions for many of the missing persons of the tragedy of 1974″, he added.


He also said that there are even families of missing persons from the period 1963-67, who are looking for answers for more than half a century.


“The Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) program began in 2005 creating expectations in families that even after so many decades they could be informed, with convincing evidence, of the fate of their loved ones. It is tragic that expectations and anticipation have not been met until today with the required response and respect. On the contrary, the mockery and inhuman treatment, on the part of the occupying power, continues, causing enormous pain and agony to the families,” he added.


As he said, given the refusal of the occupying power to cooperate, there has been a dramatic reduction in locating remains and the number of identifications, in the last years.


Turkey, as he said, refuses to cooperate in the study of its military archives despite the agreement reached within the CMP, for the indication of mass burial sites as well as sites where the remains have been deliberately buried, by the Turkish army.


Fotiou also said that Turkey`s obligations and responsibilities are clear and have been decided by the European Court of Human Rights, 20 years ago.


The Commissioner clarified and stressed that the Republic of Cyprus is taking all necessary measures and carrying out all humanitarian actions for the solution of the cases of the missing Turkish Cypriots.


Fotiou also referred to the loss of lives due to coronavirus pandemic in the diaspora communities, especially in the United Kingdom and the United States, expressing his sincere condolences to their families.


In Cyprus, Fotiou continued, due to the measures taken by the government with the advice of experts, as well as with the cooperation of the public, much have been achieved, but there’s continuous vigilance and monitoring of the implementation of measures. He added that the full return to normalcy and dealing with the problems in various sectors of the economy, are among the priorities of government officials and President of the Republic, Nicos Anastasiades.


Source: Cyprus News Agency

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