• President Christodoulides, House President Demetriou and Ministers update delegates on current developments involving the Cyprus problem and domestic affairs.
  • Delegates exchange ideas on new initiatives and strategies towards the advancement of the worldwide Cypriot diaspora.
  • Delegates resolve to redouble their efforts and renew their ongoing commitment towards a reunited Cyprus, in line with relevant UN Security Council resolutions, High-Level Agreements and EU principles and values that would end the illegal Turkish invasion and continued occupation.

The 21st Conference of the World Federation of Overseas Cypriots (POMAK) – International Coordinating Committee “Justice for Cyprus” (PSEKA) and the Executive Council meeting of the World Organisation for Young Overseas Cypriots (NEPOMAK) took place from August 22nd to 23rd in Nicosia. Representatives of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK (the representative body) and its Member Association’s attended as delegates.

During the Conference, delegates voted in elections deciding the leadership of POMAK and PSEKA. Andreas Papaevripides was re-elected as President of POMAK and Phillip Christopher was re-elected as President of PSEKA. Delegates also unanimously resolved to give their “full support to the initiative of President Christodoulides with the aim to resume negotiations within the agreed UN framework as prescribed by the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, which provide for the creation of a bizonal bicommunal, federation with political equality, as defined in the relevant UN Security Resolutions.”

Opening Ceremony

The Conference was opened by His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Nikos Christodoulides. The President began by praising the longstanding contribution of the diaspora to resolve the Cyprus problem and to promote Cyprus and its people. He said “I experienced it from the very first moment as a student, then as a Diplomat, as a Government Spokesman and as a Minister of Foreign Affairs, and I would like to mention it tonight. You may come from different parties, either in Cyprus or in your host country, you may have different political ideologies, but at the end of the day, and you prove it through your actions, your party is Cyprus.”

The President commented on the recent attempt by the occupation regime to begin unauthorised construction works in the buffer zone near Pyla. Praising the international response against the action, he expressed his “satisfaction with the massive international reaction to the Turkish designs, the clear response to Mr Erdogan and the occupation regime, but also the recognition by the international community.” This response included a robust UN Security Council statement stating serious concern against the action and condemnation of attacks on UN Peacekeepers and vehicles. Similar statements were also issued by high ranking EU officials and other world leaders.

The President went on to reaffirm that “under no circumstances do we accept the occupation and its tragic consequences.” He assured delegates that he “will do everything possible, intensively, and methodically, for a solution on the basis of the relevant UN resolutions, in line with the principles and values of the EU and the acquis communautaire, a solution of a bizonal, bicommunal federation. A solution that is functional and viable for an EU Member State and that will continue to be so after the resolution of the Cyprus problem.”

Outlining current efforts towards the Cyprus problem, President Christodoulides explained his aim to link Europe-Turkey relations with the resumption of negotiations. This would mean, he said, “that any progress in Europe-Turkey relations, which is very important for Turkey, is linked with positive developments on the Cyprus problem.” He added that “The Cyprus problem is a European issue and, as such, its resolution is a priority for the EU itself, which is calling for the immediate start of negotiations.”

President Christodoulides also made a series of announcements for the “continued consultation, exchange of views and support” and “long-standing recognition” of the diaspora and its role in the Cyprus problem.

The Diaspora Museum was announced and, in its preliminary phase, will be an online collection hosting a “very large volume of quality written, audio, audiovisual, television and electronic material, available since the first World Conference of Cyprus Diaspora in 1976.” President Christodoulides said that “it will be a useful tool for historical retrospection and study of all aspects of the Cyprus problem, as well as the activities of expatriate Cypriots in all communities.”

The Cyprus Diaspora Platform was announced as an online platform divided into two sub-pages, “The Cyprus Diaspora Record” and the “Learn Your Roots.” In closing, the President announced the appointment of former Ambassador to Washington, Marios Lysiotis, as Presidential Commissioner for Diaspora and Repatriates. President Christodoulides said that Mr Lysiotis “knows first-hand the importance and significance of our Diaspora, the best ways to work together, your worries and concerns, and I am confident he will be successful in realising this important goal of our government.”

Delegates were also addressed by the President of the House of Representatives, Annita Demetriou; Greek Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs George Kotsiras; His Beatitude Archbishop George of Cyprus; President of POMAK, Andreas Papaevripides; President of PSEKA, Philip Christopher and President of NEPOMAK Christos Tuton.

Speaking on behalf of the diaspora, the Presidents of POMAK, PSEKA and NEPOMAK also addressed the audience. Mr Papaevripides highlighted the contribution of the diaspora in “achieving greatness, giving hope, campaigning for the rights of Cyprus, its reunification and its liberation from the Turkish occupation.” Mr Christopher followed, stating that all organizations in the USA are united and will continue to campaign for the reunification of Cyprus and to keep Turkey away from the F-35 and F-16 fighter jets. Finally, Mr Tuton stressed the progress by NEPOMAK in connecting and changing the lives of diaspora youth as well as bringing them into the campaign for the reunification of Cyprus.

Briefings by Government Ministers

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Constantinos Kombos briefed delegates on the Government’s foreign policy and its objectives in international affairs. He said that Cyprus is ready for reunification negotiations to resume on the agreed UN framework, noting that this was the only way to find a solution. He also outlined the diplomatic initiatives underway to restart talks as well as the involvement of the European Union in this process.

Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry, Giorgos Papanastasiou gave delegates an overview on Cyprus’ energy strategy. He said that this strategy is focused on the exploitation of the country’s natural gas reserves and progress toward its green transition. Mr Papanastasiou said that these aim at “addressing both the growing threat of climate change and the ongoing energy crisis.”

Minister of Health, Popi Kanari addressed delegates about the developments of the Cypriot public healthcare system (GeSY) and its achievements since its establishment in 2017. The Minister said, “our vision is to create a new culture, where beneficiaries and providers with their responsible attitude will protect GeSY, which is the property of the citizens of the Republic and a valuable legacy for future generations.”

Minister of Defence, Michalis Giorgallas and the Chief of the National Guard, Lieutenant General Demokritos Zervakis briefed delegates on the Government’s vision and strategy for defence. Mr Giorgallas centred his briefing on cooperation with other states, referring to the joint initiatives of the State Partnership Program (SPP) with the New Jersey National Guard to aid in the training of the Cypriot military.

Minister of Education, Sports and Youth Athina Michaelidou and Deputy Executive Director of the Youth Board of Cyprus, Maria Miltiadou briefed delegates on youth issues. Topics included the incorporatation and development of digital skills, the expansion of STEM studies and inclusivity in modern schooling amongst a comprehensive set of priorities for Cyprus’ youth.

Deputy Minister to the President, Irene Piki, updated delegates on the Government’s aim of transitioning to digital and supportive monitoring of all its work and the establishment of anti-corruption measures. Mrs Piki stated that “the desire of all of us can only be to restructure the state on the basis of a truly fair, transparent and participatory governance.”

Government Spokesperson, Konstantinos Letympiotis, led a session on the promotion of Cypriot media and the Cyprus problem, discussing suggestions and recommendations from delegates. Mr Letymptiotis noted that this year’s conference was the largest held to date and that the “goal, as a government, is to make the most of the diaspora, who stand by Cyprus, regardless of how many years and how far away they are from their homeland.”

Other Briefings

In an Honorary Address, US Senator and Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Bob Menendez spoke in support of Cyprus and its campaign for freedom and reunification. The Senator remarked on the recent events in Pyla, saying “it was an unacceptable violation of international law.” He called on the United States of America to move from “condemnation to action” on the Cyprus problem and for the Biden administration to make a Cyprus settlement one of his top foreign policy priorities.

He said in closing, “Let us recommit ourselves to defending human rights, to continue fighting for democracy, to uphold the rule of law. Until the day when the last boot of the last Turkish soldier leaves Cyprus, leaving Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots to find their own destiny, in peace and security.”

Delegates were presented with the work of the Committee for the Assistance of Children of Cyprus by its Honorary President, First Lady H.E. Mrs Philippa Karsera, and its President, Deputy Accountant General Stelios Kountouris. The presentation highlighted the Committee’s work towards the Cyprus Children Fund, Independent Social Support Agency and annual Radiomarathon charity event.

On the issue of Missing Persons, delegates were briefed by the Head of Humanitarian Issues of Missing Persons and Enclaved Greek Cypriots, Anna Aristotelous. Ms Aristotelous provided an update on the current process of identifying and locating Missing Persons as well as the Government’s holistic approach toward supporting the families of the Missing and Enclaved through the state and non-governmental organisations.

Delegates also received a briefing by Marios Tannousis, CEO of the National Investment Promotion Authority of Cyprus. Mr Tannousis emphasised the agency’s role in promoting, facilitating, and aftercare of foreign investments in Cyprus as well as the islands’ growing technology sector and the response to the Cost of Living Crisis.

Roundtable Discussion with UK High Commissioner and Ambassadors

The Ambassadors of the USA, France and Israel as well as the UK High Commissioner in Cyprus, Irfan Siddiq OBE joined delegates for a roundtable discussion. Discussions ranged from recent events in Pyla to efforts to restart negotiations for a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem, based on the internationally accepted and agreed model.

Briefing of the Central Council with the President of the Republic of Cyprus H.E. Nikos Christodoulides

President Nikos Christodoulides received the Executive Councils of POMAK, PSEKA and NEPOMAK for a briefing on the current developments on the Cyprus problem in a private meeting at the Presidential Palace. The private meeting was followed by a reception hosted by the President and the First Lady in the gardens of the Presidential Palace.

President Christodoulides began by awarding the Medal for Exceptional Contribution to diaspora Cypriots for their longstanding and active service to Cyprus, including UK-Cypriot Kyriacos Tsioupra, former Editor of Parikiaki Newspaper and RIK TV / Cyprus News Agency correspondent. The other recipients were Charalambos Kapnoullas, Ismini Michael, Stelios Georgiades and Paschalis Kitromilides.

President Christodoulides congratulated the honorees. He told the diaspora members in the audience that “Your struggles have been, and continue to be, the brightest beacon, the strongest help for all the Governments of the Republic of Cyprus, in our efforts first and foremost to end the occupation, to find a viable and functional solution that will vindicate the Cypriot people.”




Reception hosted by UK High Commissioner Irfan Siddiq OBE

UK delegates were hosted for a reception at the residence of UK High Commissioner to Cyprus, Mr. Irfan Siddiq OBE. The reception was the first hosted during Mr Siddiq’s term and was an opportunity to celebrate the strong bilateral ties between the UK and Cyprus, as well as the diverse personal connections between individuals from both countries.

Mr Siddiq told the delegates that the UK-Cypriot community is the largest of the global Cypriot diaspora and have made a long-standing and vital contribution to Britain. Over the course of the evening delegates had the opportunity to exchange views with Mr Siddiq and High Commission diplomats on a range of issues.

NEPOMAK Executive Council Meeting

NEPOMAK Executive Council (EC) delegates, as well as NCCT participants, also attended the various briefings and receptions during the POMAK/PSEKA conference, in addition to their own simultaneous programme of events. Delegates began proceedings with a visit to the House of Representatives, hosted by House President Mrs Annita Demetriou. The House President told the delegates to be “the change they want to see in the future” and emphasised the importance of inclusivity and the involvement of the youth in politics.

Workshops hosted by NEPOMAK EC members were focused on defining strategic plans, sharing of best practices, developing new initiatives and ideas and the strengthening of bonds between members from across the globe.

Government Spokesperson Konstantinos Letymbiotis also held a roundtable discussion with delegates on the Cyprus problem, discussing specific ideas and initiatives.