Minister for Europe, Jim Murphy MP, this week told Cypriots that Cyprus remains his personal priority as a foreign policy objective. At a joint event organised by the Greek Cypriot Brotherhood, the Labour Cypriot Society, AKEL in Britain and EDEK UK, at Labour’s annual party conference in Manchester, Mr Murphy who will make an official visit to Cyprus in early October, pledged the British Government’s support to the direct negotiations currently under way between President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mr Mehmet Ali Talat.

Mr Murphy told the well-attended event that Britain would not dictate terms for a solution but will do all that it can to support the negotiating process constructively so that a solution for Cypriots by Cypriots, can be reached.

The reception was hosted under the auspices of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK. Mr Peter Droussiotis, President of the Federation, emphasised that there is a new climate on the island:

“President Christofias was elected with a clear mandate from the people and is working extremely hard to bring about a resolution to the Cyprus problem and to reunite the country. We very much hope that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Talat, will be able to reciprocate and that Ankara will not be an obstacle to this crucial effort to bring about a just and lasting settlement in the interest of all Cypriots.”

Haris Sophoclides, President of the Greek Cypriot Brotherhood, echoed the sentiments expressed by both the Minister and Mr Droussiotis, and pointed out that the key to a solution continues to be in Ankara’s hands. 

The fringe reception was the best attended of such events in recent years, with a good number of high profile guests including former Deputy Prime Minister Rt Hon John Prescott MP, Gerald Kaufman MP, Joan Ryan MP, Andy Love MP, Barry Gardiner MP, Siobhan McDonagh MP, former Labour Party General Secretary Lady McDonagh, Joanne McCartney GLA Member for Enfield and Haringey, as well numerous councillors including Cllr George Meehan, leader of Haringey Council, the leader of Barnet Council’s Labour Group, Cllr Allison Moore, and Greek Cypriot Councillors Stephen Alambritis, Bambos Charalambous and John Kazantzis.

The Federation was represented by Vice Presidents Chris Styllianou and Michael Kashis, Executive members Susie Constantinides and Nephytos Nicolaou and Executive Secretary Andreas Karaolis. Also present was the Cyprus Deputy High Commissioner in the UK, Mr. Demetris Hadziargyrou.