‘We must stay alert to counter Turkey provocations’

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House Speaker Annita Demetriou told a UK audience it was imperative to stay alert and act promptly, composedly and coordinatedly to fend off Turkey’s attempts to get the occupied north recognised as a state.

Was the key guest at a London dinner hosted by the UK National Federation of Cypriots.

Addressing various generations of UK Cypriots, Demetriou said in her role as House Speaker, she had delivered demarches to international organisations highlighting and condemning Turkey’s illegal actions.

She is in the UK urging support for settlement negotiations to resume for “a just and viable settlement within UN resolutions, which of course, means a bizonal, bicommunal federation”.

In meetings with the Speaker of the House of Commons and Chairpersons of the Commons’ Select Committees, Demetriou argued the situation in Cyprus is not dissimilar to that in Ukraine:

“There can be no room for double standards in international law. The invasion of Ukraine is the same as the invasion that happened in our Cyprus in 1974”.

Demetriou said that the main thing on her agenda is to update her interlocutors on the most recent developments regarding the Cyprus issue.

And explore possibilities of further bilateral cooperation on issues and challenges of joint interest.

She expressed her wish for the diaspora to have “active participation, role and say in things concerning Cyprus”.

She also described the Cypriots of the diaspora as “an integral part of the Cypriot society”.

President of the National Federation of Cypriots, Christos Karaolis, expressed gratitude and thanks for the time the House Speaker found to listen to their views and meet with diaspora organisations.

He emphasised the ongoing online campaign Hands Off Cyprus, which enables Cypriots and others in the UK to contact their MPs, asking them to support Cyprus.

On Tuesday, Demetriou met with UK Cypriot charities (Olive Branch Aid, Alkyonides UK, Cypriot Community Centre) and other organisations (Famagusta Association of Great Britain, Board of British Cypriots).

She also gave a press conference, during which she said she is realistic about the challenges surrounding the efforts to resume Cyprus negotiations.

“I am a realist, and I can say that things are not easy.

“So I can’t be either optimistic or pessimistic about it.

“What I can say, however, is that every effort is being made to restart negotiations and carry on from where we had stopped,” Demetriou said.

Her visit concludes on Wednesday, with meetings and an official reception at the House of Commons.

The latest round of UN-backed negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.