Address by the Presidential Commissioner Mr Photis Photiou at the Global Armenian Summit , PIO 29/10/2022
It is a true pleasure and a distinct honour to attend this year’s Global Armenian Summit on Diaspora Issues, which is organized by the Office of the High Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs of the Republic of Armenia. This summit provides a unique opportunity for all participants to hold productive discussions and identify ways and means for discussing challenges and problems of universal importance for Diaspora Representatives and their local counterparts.
I extend my heartfelt congratulations to the organizers (and especially my friend Zareh Sinanyan and his associates), the distinguished speakers, and all contributors for this brilliant initiative and thank them for the opportunity to participate.
The trilateral cooperation among Cyprus, Greece and Armenia is the reflection of our Countries’ long-standing and brotherly relations. The tangible results of our cooperation, always serve the benefit of the people of our countries and are encouraging us to seek further joint planning, actions and strategies.
The Armenian, Cypriot and Greek people do not share only strong cultural, religious, economic and other societal bonds. We are united by our joint struggles for survival as well as by a deep and profound respect for the international law, the universality of human rights, and for international stability.
In this regard, we whole heartily cherish the evolving political cooperation and the subsequently closer, mutually beneficial, ties between the Government of the Republic of Cyprus, the Government of the Hellenic Republic and the Government of the Republic of Armenia.
While the past legacy of the Armenians of Cyprus are the best ambassadors of Cyprus–Armenia relations, we are currently seeking to complement this legacy by exploring new areas of cooperation. In that regard, I would not seize to reiterate that Armenia should always consider Cyprus as her best supporter and Ambassador within the European Union.
The Armenian community in Cyprus is characterized by its long history as well as its vibrant and extrovert nature. Its profound and distinct positive influence, can be witnessed everywhere in our country. We have around 4000 Armenians, which are an indispensable part of our society. We encourage this community especially the new generation to know their roots, their history and their culture. We are doing our best through schools and other initiatives to support them.
Cyprus was the first country to address the recognition of the Armenian Genocide at the UN General Assembly of 1965. The House of Representatives of the Republic of Cyprus has been one of the first Parliaments (the 2nd in the world) to adopt a Resolution on the recognition of the Armenian Genocide in 1975. In fact, the House of Representatives of the Republic of Cyprus, with its relevant decision on April 2, 2015, has criminalized the denial of the Armenian Genocide.
The organized Diaspora of our countries has proved in the past how powerful and influential they can be. Their energy, means and vision could become powerful assets for their respective homelands.
On 24th of June, we have signed in Patra a Trilateral MOU on Diaspora related issues. This MOU further strengthens and deepens the cooperation between Cyprus, Greece and Armenia.
Yesterday, we have agreed to further develop cooperation through the implementation of specific initiatives involving the diaspora, with emphasis on youth, business, and initiatives in France, UK, USA and Australia. It is widely known that our diaspora in the aforesaid countries is well-organized and has excelled in representing their fatherlands abroad.
The three sides stressed the necessity to appeal to their Diaspora communities in the different countries around the world to cooperate with each other. Particularly we apply emphasis on organizing joint events dedicated to their national holidays, memorial days and anniversaries of genocides. Needless to mention the importance of cooperation in promoting the interests of our three countries in decision-making centers abroad.
In the same context, I am looking forward to welcoming my counterparts to Cyprus next month, for the photo exhibition dedicated to the three tragedies of the 20th century namely: the Turkish Invasion in Cyprus in 1974, the Genocide of the Greeks of Pontus in 1919 and the Armenian Genocide in 1915. We consider this a very important initiative, currying powerful messages and symbolism.
I would be amiss not to mention the importance of the active participation of the expatriate youth as one of the top priorities of our common strategy. It is indeed a vital ingredient to make this common project to work. We are in that regard, working on specific projects and events regarding the diaspora youth of the three countries.
Cyprus remains the only divided country in European Union. It still suffers from the 1974 illegal Turkish invasion and the continued occupation of one third of its territory. Since 1974, we are working hard to reach a settlement and reunite our Island. The Cyprus problem is a priority issue that currently remains on a profound stalemate due to the intransigent and provocative stance of the occupying Turkey. Instead of working towards achieving peace, Turkey to the contrary, is launching threats aiming to destabilize our countries’ and broader regions.
Let our presence here today to send the important message of our joint determination to enhance our cooperation to the benefit of our countries’ and diasporas!
Thank you once again for the invitation and the hospitality. It has been an honour and a pleasure for me to participate in this very special event for Diaspora here in Yerevan.
I wish you every success in the deliberations of your Summit.