The formation of a solidarity committee with the aim of attracting and facilitating investments into the National Solidarity Fund approved by the House of Representatives in Cyprus has been decided by the Cypriot community in the UK.

In a late Thursday evening open meeting in north London, organised by the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK, a series of practical steps to support the Cypriot state and people were put forward by members of the community.

The main suggestion was that the Cypriot UK diaspora and members of the wider business and investment community in Britain, Cypriots and non-Cypriots alike, should be encouraged to contribute to the solidarity fund.

The main incentive for such a contribution would be the exchange bonds linked to future revenue from the natural gas reserves off the coast of the island. Members of the Federation stressed that such a prospect should be a strong card in the coordinated efforts to bring in much needed financial support for Cyprus.

The proposals submitted will be examined by the committee due to be formed within the next week.

As an immediate relief action it was suggested that a fund could be created in London to collect money that would be forwarded to Nicosia, although the Federation has expressed the will to act mainly as a facilitator for direct support to the Cypriot Solidarity Fund. A proposal for organising a concert with artists from Cyprus, Greece and the diaspora received a warm welcome.

The attendants also agreed on the importance of even more frequent visits to their mother country in order to give tourism and the economy a significant boost. Support for the food banks in Cyprus and the Social Grocery Store, an institution that offers free food to hundreds of people, was also endorsed.

The Federation was urged to seek advice and draw knowledge from professional bodies, lawyers and economists in the UK who have had the experience of dealing with the credit crunch of 2008 and its repercussions in the British banking sector.

Another issue raised was the need to create a network that would inform and assist UK based businessmen to invest in projects in Cyprus, bound to appear through or because of the current situation. An important role was also recognised for wealthy businessmen of Cypriot origin based in Britain.

One of them, Stelio Stefanou of the SO, told CNA that his presence in such a meeting was all about his roots and solidarity with his country. He suggested that if people like him explained to their business partners that what is going on in Cyprus is unfair, then even more of them would sympathise with the island.

On a parallel level, members of the community highlighted the need to help Cypriots that already live in the UK having already been hit by the crisis. An idea put forward was the creation of a support network for all people migrating to the UK as a result of the latest developments in Cyprus.

The Cyprus High Commissioner Alexandros Zenon said that the UK stood by the Cypriot government and people in this occasion. He told the members of the community that Foreign Secretary William Hague called President Anastasiades and Foreign Minister Kasoulides, while Chancellor George Osborne was encouraging Lagarde and the Eurogroup to be more flexible with Cyprus. He also mentioned that a high-level treasury technical team is in Nicosia working with the Cypriot government on the restructuring of the banking sector.

Zenon revealed that one of the rich Commonwealth countries` sovereign investment fund has expressed an initial interest in supporting the Solidarity Fund. He also dismissed Ankara’s objections regarding Cyprus’s actions over the natural gas reserves, stressing that “Turkey is internationally isolated on the issue”, as the USA, Russia, the UK, France, Italy and other countries have clarified “there is no substance in the Turkish government’s claims.”

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