The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Cyprus and the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK will be hosting our annual parliamentary meeting, to mark the anniversary of the Turkey’s illegal invasion and occupation of Cyprus, virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event will take place on Monday 19 July 2021 from 7:15pm and the whole community is invited to watch the event live, as it happens, by visiting www.cypriotfederation.org.uk/parliament
Speakers at the event will include the Cypriot Foreign Minister and Presidential Commissioner, as well as Minister Wendy Morton MP, Shadow Minister Fabian Hamilton MP, Opposition Spokespersons from the SNP & Liberal Democrats, and Parliamentarians from across the major British political parties.
Members of Parliament from across the major British political parties will be participating and it will be an opportunity to hear them discuss the Cyprus issue and the important contribution made by Cypriots in the UK. The APPG for Cyprus has long supported the reunification of Cyprus in line with UN Security Council Resolutions and continues to work hard to promote positive relations between the UK and the Republic of Cyprus. The National Federation of Cypriots in the UK proudly serves as the Secretariat for the APPG for Cyprus.
Please encourage your friends and family to also watch the event live on Monday 19 July, as we continue the struggle for a free and re-united Cyprus.
Date: July 19
Time: 7:15 pm - 8:45 pm
To watch the even press on the following Website link : www.cypriotfederation.org.uk/parliament
Organizer National Federation of Cypriots in UK
19/7/2021 Intervention by the Presidential Commissioner, Mr Photis Photiou, during the Virtual Event entitled “Cyprus: It’s time for reunification” Organized by the APPG for Cyprus and the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK
It is a distinct honour and a great pleasure to be here online with you today at this virtual event entitled “Cyprus: It’s time for reunification”.
Let me first commend the organizers (and especially the Chair Honorary Sir Roger and the Officers of the APPG for Cyprus as well as the President of the National Federation of Cypriots in UK, Christos Karaolis), for this initiative and thank them for the opportunity to participate.
I would like to thank Minister Morton, Shadow Minister Hamilton, the Opposition Party Spokespersons, as well as our good friends Sir Roger, Theresa and Bambo and all the Cyprus APPG members for their clear and united message this evening that the only possible solution to end the Turkish occupation is one that is based on the agreed UN parameters.
I would especially like to thank our friends on the Cyprus All Party Parliamentary Group for keeping Cyprus high on the British parliamentary agenda.
Let me also thank our Diaspora and to express our collective, deepest gratitude for everything you have been doing all these years in support of Cyprus, in the UK and worldwide.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I will concentrate my intervention to the open wound of the tragedy of the missing persons and their families.
From a humanitarian point of view, the most tragic consequence of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus is the missing persons. This is a tragedy that causes so much pain and agony to hundreds of families, who are still waiting for nearly half a century to be informed about the fate of their loved ones.
Forty-seven years since the Turkish invasion, around eight hundred Greek-Cypriots are still missing. Regrettably, progress on this serious problem during the past few years is disappointing, to say the least. Time is running out.
Despite the efforts of the CMP and the continuous support of the government of Cyprus the number of remains exhumed and identified by DNA falls dramatically year by year.
The basic reason for this situation is the refusal of Turkey to cooperate sincerely and constructively to solve even the humanitarian aspect of the tragedy.
Turkey should show respect to the European Institutions by implementing the 2001 judgement of the European Court of Human Rights and subsequence resolutions of the Council of Europe, United Nations, and other international organizations. In this respect, Turkey should allow unimpeded access to the CMP’s archaeological teams in the so-called military zones in the occupied areas, provide to the Committee all the information from its military archives concerning burial places, inform the Committee of the places of reburial of remains that were purposely removed from the original places of burial. As a result of this, only fragmented skeletal elements are located. The worse, however, is that the families receive for burial only small parts of skeletal elements of their loved ones, something that prevents the families from proceeding to a closure.
On our part we exert every possible effort so all Turkish Cypriot families are informed about the fate of their loved ones.
I take this opportunity to kindly request you to contribute in whatever way you consider appropriate, in the United Kingdom, to assist the efforts to solve the tragedy of the missing persons to the sake of the families concerned.
I feel that at this critical juncture, the need for the UK to assume a more active involvement and humanitarian initiatives is urgent, than ever before.
In conclusion, I want to clearly state that the correct settlement of the tragedy of the missing persons will not only help to end the suffering of the families but will also contribute to the prospects of the next generations. This will create conditions of trust and reconciliation, elements that are essential and necessary for the reunification of our island.
You can watch the full event by visiting our YouTube channel via https://youtu.be/zO_K9LnYK9g
Press Release - Annual Parliamentary Cyprus meeting takes place virtually
On Monday 19th July 2021, the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK and the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Cyprus held their annual parliamentary meeting (virtually this year) to mark the tragic anniversary of Turkey’s invasion and continued occupation of Cyprus since 1974.
WATCH | Cyprus: It’s time for reunification
Welcoming the guests and viewers to the virtual event, Federation President Christos Karaolis, said that the 47 years of occupation “have been long, dark and painful years for our diaspora, many of whom are refugees and are desperate to return to their family homes.” He said that, “despite the sadness of this anniversary, our hope for a reunified island never dwindles and we believe that a Cyprus where Cypriots live and prosper together is both attainable and viable.” He also called for “meaningful consequences” for Turkey’s violations of UN Security Council resolutions on Varosha.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus, Nikos Christodoulides, began his remarks by saying that today’s discussion “is timely and relevant, given that the Turkish President is currently on an illegal visit in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus, to commemorate, in his usual provocative manner, the anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, with the promise of announcing ‘surprises to the world'”.
Mr Christodoulides then gave a summary of the latest developments towards resuming negotiations on the Cyprus issue. He explained that an informal 5+UN meeting took place in Geneva in April but unfortunately did not lead to the “resumption of negotiations on the agreed basis of a bi-zonal bi-communal federation, from where the last process was suspended in Crans Montana, and in accordance with all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.”
Foreign Minister Christodoulides also urged the UK Government to “convey a clear, unequivocal message to Turkey that there can be no discussion of Turkey’s preposterous position on the form of a solution to the Cyprus problem.” Moreover, he went on to say that UK must be clear that “there is no room, or appetite, in London for constructive ambiguity that is intended to conceal a solution that is two-state or confederal in substance, but appears on the outside as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation.” He also said that the UK as a UN Security Council permanent member “must uphold all resolutions both on the Cyprus issue and on Varosha.”
The Minister for European Neighbourhood and the Americas, Wendy Morton MP, began her remarks by expressing her sympathy to those affected by the wildfire in Cyprus earlier this month. Ms Morton noted that despite the challenges of the pandemic, the relations between the UK and Cyprus have “gone from strength to strength” and both her and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab have visited Cyprus recently. She said the visit “served as a warm reminder of the depth of our countries’ friendship.”
Speaking about the UK’s position in the recent informal 5+UN meeting on Cyprus in Geneva, Ms Morton said that the Foreign Secretary called for “all sides to demonstrate flexibility and compromise to find a solution to the Cyprus problem”. She said that the UK Government’s support for a solution should be “based on the existing parameters of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, with political equality. We believe these parameters are broad enough and flexible enough to accommodate the interests of both the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, for the peace and security of a united island.”
Referring to the issue possible actions by Turkey on Varosha, Ms Morton said, “I know there is a great deal of concern about President Erdogan’s visit… the UK shares this concern.” Ms Morton also said that the UK “has been clear in its conversations with Ankara that they should refrain from actions that could undermine the chances of a settlement.” She continued, “the UK actively supports the various UN Security Council resolutions covering the issue of Varosha.
In October last year, in response to the opening of the [Varosha] shoreline, the UK called for a UNSC session which concluded with a UNSC Presidential Statement calling for Turkish actions to cease and be reversed. We stand ready to work with Security Council members to ensure the Council responds to actions in Varosha in an appropriate manner.”
The Presidential Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus, Photis Photiou, provided an update on the efforts to determine the fate of the missing persons. He said the missing persons issue “is a tragedy that causes so much pain and agony to hundreds of families, who are still waiting for nearly half a century to be informed about the fate of their loved ones.” Mr Photiou said “Turkey should provide the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus with all information in its military archives concerning burial sites.” He stressed that the missing persons tragedy “is a humanitarian issue rather than a political one” and said that, whether you are Greek Cypriot or Turkish Cypriot with missing relatives, “pain is the same”.
Sir Roger Gale MP, Chair of the APPG for Cyprus, said President Erdogan’s behaviour is “completely unacceptable”. Sir Roger emphasised that “all sides of the political divide in Britain are as one when it comes to the future of Cyprus”.
Labour’s Shadow Minister for Peace and Disarmament Fabian Hamilton said his party supports the abolishment of guarantees and the withdrawal of the Turkish occupation army as part of a bizonal, bicommunal federal solution, and added that a two-state outcome is “a non-starter”. Mr Hamilton expressed his deep concern over developments in Varosi and said he hoped President Erdogan “did not break UNSC Resolution”. In closing he said that Cyprus “is an island I love, an island that we want to see once again reunited. Let’s never, ever give up until that is achieved.”
SNP’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson Alyn Smith MP expressed his party’s support for a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation and noted that Cyprus is a rare issue where there is common ground across parties in the House of Commons.
The Liberal Democrats’ Christine Jardine MP said that a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with political equality is not just the best, but the only way to uphold international resolutions, international law and human rights in Cyprus.
Conservative MP Theresa Villiers, Vice-Chair of the APPG, said it is time for the UK Foreign Secretary to advocate publicly for an end to third country guarantees in any future settlement, and asked for the international community’s condemnation of the unacceptable Turkish incursions in the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone and President Erdogan’s provocative decision to re-open of the beach front at Varosha.
Labour Party MP, Bambos Charalambous, also Vice-Chair of the APPG, said Turkey has been “clearly provocative” and that the international community has to do more to hold President Erdogan to account for his actions.
Closing the event, Mr Karaolis thanked Cyprus’ supporters in parliament and said “your actions can make a real and lasting change to the lives not only of your constituents and the 300,000 Britons with Cypriot origins, but the fate of an entire population asking for peace, justice and the restoration of human rights.”
The virtual event was also attended by the High Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus to the UK, Andreas Kakouris; Caroline Nokes MP (Vice-Chair of the APPG for Cyprus); Mark Jenkinson MP, and Matthew Offord MP (both Officers of the APPG for Cyprus); Steve McCabe MP (Birmingham, Selly Oak); Feryal Clark MP and; Carol Monaghan MP.(RM/SCH)