The role of diaspora in bolstering the strategic partnership with the USA is pivotal, Cyprus’ Government Spokesman, Konstantinos Letymbiotis, said on Tuesday in his speech at the 38th Annual PSEKA Conference in Washington, while also noting the role of the diaspora in efforts to reunite Cyprus.
He also said that, on this day, May 9, the reunification of Europe is being celebrated, and that, the people of Cyprus deserve to enjoy living in a reunified country, with democracy, respect for human rights, rule of law and solidarity, that are the cornerstones of the European foundation, noting that President Nikos Christodoulides has set the Cyprus problem “at the top of his agenda”. “He is fully aware of what is at stake if a settlement is not reached. He will spare no effort to resolve the Cyprus problem”, Letymbiotis said.
Reunifying the country in a bizonal bicommunal federation through a viable solution to the Cyprus problem, in line with UN Security Council resolutions, remains the absolute priority of President Christodoulides, he said, adding that, a solution to the Cyprus problem will not only unlock the full potential of Cyprus, but will also have a beneficial ripple effect in the Eastern Mediterranean, a region of vital importance to both EU and US. The Spokesman, expressed, on behalf of the Government and the people of Cyprus, “our most sincere appreciation for the active and positive role that the United States has maintained within the Security Council on the Cyprus problem, as well as for the efforts towards reunification”.
Referring to President Christodoulides’ initiative, for the EU to assume “a more decisive and leading role”, in restarting and effectively assisting the negotiations, Letymbiotis said that, a reunified Cyprus will benefit not only Cyprus and its people, but also the wider region, “including Turkey, the EU and our allies”.
“Our goal is to resume negotiations from where they were left off at Crans Montana, to achieve a comprehensive solution in line with the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions and EU law”, he said.
On the issue of Varosha, he said, that, if the opening of the fenced area of the town is completed, it “would have a devastating effect on efforts to reach a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem”.
Letymbiotis also sent a message “towards our Turkish Cypriot compatriots, that a viable solution can be achieved, a common future can be prosperous”.
He also conveyed President Christodoulides’ and the Government’s “deepest appreciation” to the Cypriot diaspora in the US, “for the instrumental work” they do for Cyprus in the United States. “Your tireless efforts have contributed in expanding and deepening the bilateral relations between Cyprus and the United States”, he said.
He noted that, the relationship between the United States and Cyprus has reached new heights during the last few years, which was “a conscious, active effort by Cyprus”, facilitated by the diaspora’s work, as he said. He also noted that, the role of diaspora in bolstering the strategic partnership with Washington was “pivotal” and that President Christodoulides conveys “his heartfelt appreciation” for the important work they do and wishes to enhance this collaboration even more.
Letymbiotis also said, among other things, that, the potential in the to two countries’ bilateral relations was “immense”, and the Cyprus Government is working closely with the US Government to fulfil it.
In this context, he said, the permanent lifting of the arms embargo “will further promote our common interests, while the inclusion of Cyprus in the visa waiver programme will create new avenues, especially with regards to trade, business, education, and people-to-people contacts”.
He also said that the Government aims to create the necessary conditions for the development and expansion of businesses, the increase of trade and employment, the attraction of more investment, and the reskilling and upskilling of the local human capital. This new vision will be promoted through the long-term economic strategy of Cyprus “Vision 2035”, he added.
He noted that the reforms the Government is pushing ahead will provide a series of financial tools to businesses and will broaden its economic partnership and commercial ties with a number of countries, including the United States.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.