The Cyprus problem was at the focus of the Cyprus Federation of America (CFA) annual national convention held here on Saturday.

Cypriot and Greek officals addressed the event, which was also attended by the Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America Archbishop Demetrios and many prominent Cypriot and Greek members of the diaspora.

Cypriot Health Minister Christos Patsalides, who represented the government of Cyprus at the convention, delivered a message by President of the Republic Demetris Christofias, who expressed his deep gratitude for CFA’s and all expatriates’ contribution in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem.

Patsalides underlined President Christofias` determination for a solution and reunification, stressing that “we are not the obstacle for the solution” and noting Turkey’s intransigence and the unacceptable positions of the Turkish side.

He also said that “we have to be united in order to address Turkey’s plans”, sending also the message to the international community that “we do not accept any timeframes or arbitration”.

“Our efforts aim at reaching a mutually accepted, just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem, that will bring an end to the occupation and the illegal settling and will safeguard the human rights and fundamental of all the people of Cyprus”, Patsalides added.

Addressing the expatriates, he asked them to “continue to support their country, and to maintain their bonds with their homeland”.

Cyprus Ambassador to the US Pavlos Anastasiades spoke of the “close relations between Cyprus and USA”, adding that “since its independence, Cyprus has been a partner for the US and the Cyprus government is determined to strengthen bilateral relations”.

Referring to the ongoing UN-led talks aiming to a Cyprus settlement, Ambassador Anastasiades said that “many of the proposals put forward by the Turkish Cypriot side, jeopardize the agreed base for as settlement.“

Archbishop Demetrios referring to the Cyprus problem said that “we need deeds, not only words”, adding that “the Cyprus problem is an issue of invasion and violation of human rights”.

Re-elected CFA President Panicos Papanicolaou spoke about the federation`s activities in promoting the Cyprus problem, saying that “our efforts are difficult and costly, however we will spare no effort”.

Greek Minister Christos Papoutsis, Greek parliamentarians and PSEKA President Philip Christopher also addressed the convention.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the island’s northern third. The leaders of the two communities are currently engaged in UN-sponsored talks to find a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus issue.

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