An event organised last Tuesday evening at Westminster Palace in London by the ‘United Cyprus Platform’ of overseas Cypriot organisations brought together Greek and Turkish Cypriots, as well as British parliamentarians, in order to discuss the recent developments regarding the Cyprus problem.
The Platform is an umbrella entity comprising a variety of Turkish and Greek Cypriot organisations whose aim is to see Cyprus reunified in the form of a federal state, with a single sovereignty, single international personality and citizenship.
The meeting was chaired by the President of Episteme, the Association of British Cypriot Professionals, Peter Droussiotis.
Mr Droussiotis said that ordinary citizens’ and civic society’s involvement is a key ingredient for the success of the new peace talks.
He attributed particular emphasis on the need to highlight the benefits of reunification, amongst other things, lasting peace and reconciliation, real security for all Cypriots in the EU, economic prosperity as a result of enhanced inward investments and bi-communal development, and a decisive Turkish Cypriot role in the federal state administration.
Turkish Cypriot Republican Party (CTP) MP Armagan Candan said that the Turkish Cypriot people had given a clear indication of their support for a federal solution by voting for CTP.
Various British MPs and members of the House of Lords also attended the meeting.
Sir Roger Gale of the Conservatives said he was more optimistic than any other time, while Labour’s Sir Gerald Kaufman added that anything can be achieved with good will and good sense.
Andy Love, the Labour and Co-operative MP for Edmonton in north London said how, during his visit to the island this Autumn, he found the South Cyprus government completely willing to start the new negotiation process, although it still dealing with the country’s serious economic difficulties.
He also said that the Turkish Cypriot community was equally willing to support the negotiations and commented that conditions for negotiations will become much more favourable with the implementation of certain confidence building measures, especially the proposals regarding Famagusta.
The ‘United Cyprus Platform’ representatives thanked the British parliamentarians and the members of the public for their presence. Hasan Raif, Chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Association for Democracy stressed that the talks between leaders are not enough “unless there is pressure from us.” He also referred to his Turkish Cypriot compatriots’ concern that they have started to become “extinct” in their own country due to the settlers from Turkey. “Therefore, we don’t have much time left,” warned the Turkish Cypriot official.
Bambos Charalambous, Secretary of AKEL in Great Britain, added that the meeting took place because the members of the two communities wanted to express themselves in one voice, “to declare that they want a bi-zonal bi-communal federation solution, based on UN resolutions.”