The President of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK Christos Karaolis has called on Prime Minister Theresa May to use her influence on Turkey to make a lasting impact on the reunification of Cyprus.
The letter sent on Friday ahead of the Conference on Cyprus in Switzerland’s Crans Montana, begins by congratulating the British Prime Minister on her return to No. 10 and by extending the UK Cypriot community’s solidarity in view of the recent terrorist attacks and the Grenfell Tower fire.
Mr Karaolis refers to Cyprus as “a stable and reliable ally for the UK, both in the Eastern Mediterranean as well as the European Union.”
He notes the renewed hope that a just and viable solution to the Cyprus issue can be reached and adds: “There is no doubt, however, that Cyprus’ reunification depends on Turkey’s willingness to remove its troops from the occupied northern part of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus, and on its sincere engagement with the United Nations-facilitated process with deeds and not just words.”
He asks for the UK Government’s support in Crans Montana on the key issue of Security and Guarantees. “The UK Cypriot community strongly wishes to see Cyprus reunified and believes that Cyprus’ membership of the United Nations and the European Union provides the best form of security for Cyprus’ sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity. No modern, sovereign country has, or should have, another sovereign country as its guarantor. The system of guarantors is anachronistic and outdated and has no place in the modern world,” states the letter.
As for the UK’s role, the Federation President notes that it is a crucial actor not only due to its historic obligation as a Guarantor Power but also due to the sovereign bases on the island and the common membership of the Commonwealth and the EU.
“At this crucial time, we ask that the British Government does more to exert real pressure on Turkey to engage positively and constructively towards a just and viable solution in Cyprus… Forty-three years after the invasion of Cyprus, the UK has played a major role in shaping a new world: now, under your renewed leadership, is the time for Britain to act accordingly on Cyprus and press Turkey to work for a fair and lasting settlement for the benefit of all Cypriots,” Mr Karaolis notes.
He concludes his letter by asking for a meeting with the Prime Minister in order to discuss the prospect of Cyprus’s reunification further.
Cyprus has been divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion. UN peace talks are underway to find a negotiated settlement to reunite the country under a federal roof. A conference on Cyprus with the participation of Greece, Turkey and the UK reconvenes on Wednesday in Crans Montana.
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Theresa May has said she wants EU citizens living in the UK to stay after Brexit as she announced plans designed to put their “anxiety to rest”.
All EU nationals living in the UK lawfully for at least five years will be granted “settled status” and be able to bring over spouses and children.
Those who come after an as-yet-agreed cut-off point will be given two years to “regularise their status”.
Jeremy Corbyn said the offer was “not generous” and “too little, too late”.
Labour said the UK should have made a unilateral guarantee of security to EU citizens in the aftermath of last year’s Brexit vote.
A 15-page document outlining the detail of the UK’s offer to EU citizens has been published as Theresa May addresses MPs on the outcome of Friday’s EU summit – at which she first set out her plans.
She told the Commons that she wanted to give reassurance and certainty to the 3.2 million EU citizens in the UK – as well as citizens of the three EEA countries and Switzerland – who she said were an “integral part of the economic and cultural fabric” of the UK.
But she said any deal on their future legal status and rights must be reciprocal and also give certainty to the 1.2 million British expats living on the continent after the UK leaves the EU – expected to be on 29 March 2019.
The key points of the UK’s proposals are:
- Those granted settled status will be able to live, work, study and claim benefits just as they can now
- The cut-off date for eligibility will be between 29 March 2017 and 29 March 2019
- EU nationals in the UK for less than five years at the specified date will be able to continue living and working in the UK
- They will be able to apply for temporary residency after a “grace period” – expected to be two years – has elapsed
- Once here for five years, they can apply for settled status
- Family members of EU citizens living abroad will be able to return and apply for settled status
- A period of “blanket residence permission” may apply to give officials time to process applications to stay in the UK
- The Home Office will no longer require evidence that EU citizens who weren’t working held “comprehensive sickness insurance”
Under the plan, all those with five years of continuous residence in the UK would be able to apply for “settled status” and could expect roughly the same benefits, in terms of access to pensions, welfare and healthcare, as UK citizens.
Mrs May said the application process would be simplified and a “light touch” approach adopted. The existing application process for permanent residency involves filling out a 85-page form and has been widely criticised.
“Under these plans, no EU citizen currently in the UK lawfully will be asked to leave at the point the UK leaves the EU,” Mrs May said.
She told MPs that those granted settled status, equivalent to having indefinite leave to remain, would be “treated as if they were UK citizens for healthcare, benefits and pensions”.
Mrs May said spouses, children and other family members currently living outside the UK would be able to return and apply for settled status on the same basis as the dependents of British citizens.
Pressed by several Labour MPs, she suggested there would be no income barriers for those whose relatives have been here for more than five years.
“There will be no extra requirements,” she said. “We are not talking about splitting up families.”
She also insisted the UK should police the new rules rather than the European Court of Justice.
But Mr Corbyn said the question of citizens’ rights should have been dealt with in isolation rather than being dragged into the “delicate and complex” matrix of trade and other Brexit-related issues now being discussed.
“The prime minister went to Brussels last week to make what she described as a generous offer to EU nationals in this country,” he said.
“The truth is it is too little, too late. That could have been done and should have been done a year ago when Labour put that very proposal to the House of Commons. This isn’t a generous offer. This is confirmation the government is prepared to use people as bargaining chips.”
And the SNP’s Ian Blackford said there were still “more questions than answers” about how EU citizens living in Scotland would be affected.
Article written by BBC News Website
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The EU should play a key role in the UN framework for a just solution to the Cyprus problem, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said after the summit in Brussels.
Speaking to the press and referring to position he expressed during the deliberations at the Council, he said that in consultation with the President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades, he told the EU 27 leaders that the forthcoming Conference on Cyprus to be held in Switzerland could lay the foundations for a just solution to the Cyprus problem, only If progress on the issue of security and guarantees is achieved.
He explained that Greece will make every effort to achieve progress on this chapter, stressing that “we have never had more allies on the Cyprus issue.”
The prime minister made it clear in his speech that “the EU itself and not Cyprus is being tested in these negotiations” and made it also clear that the EU must support the just request by Greece and Cyprus for the abolition of the anachronistic status of security and guarantees, followed by the withdrawal of Turkish troops.
Alexis Tsipras stressed in his speech, that the Cyprus issue is a major European issue and concerns security in the wider region and the very security of Europe. EU co-operation with the UN is crucial to finding a solution, he noted.
The prime minister clarified that Turkey`s European course is passing through the solution of the Cyprus problem.
Responding to a question, he noted that he can not be either optimistic or pessimistic about the process of negotiations in Switzerland. But he said he views recent developments with determination and realism, considering that steps should be taken forward.
He reiterated that the Cyprus problem is predominantly European rather than Greek-Turkish. He said that the timing is not the best, but “you can not choose the conjuncture, but you can choose a methodology that for us is international law, tools and allies”.
“In friendly co-operation,” he said, “with the Cypriot President, we try to intensify the positive elements and mitigate negative”. In the positive elements, he included the fact that two leaders want the solution.
Alexis Tsipras explained that Europe would be directly affected by the outcome of the talks and no one in the EU wants a leader to be held hostage because of the presence of occupying troops or the potential intervention of a third country (guarantees).
“There will be consequences if we do not,” said Alexis Tsipras.
Replying to a question by the CNA about the positions expressed by his EU counterparts, the Prime Minister noted that “there was a complete understanding of the Cypriot positions on the anachronistic framework of the guarantees and the presence of the occupying army.”
“We have never had more allies,” the Prime Minister said. He stressed that the negotiation is within the framework of the United Nations, but the Member States have a separate position and knowledge.
Finally, in relation to the draft text of UN Secretary General special envoy Espen Barth Eide, Alexis Tsipras said that “we had the opportunity to talk wit the President of the Republic for a long time”.
“I will not make judgments on issues that are open to the table,” he stressed. “The Greek side will not accept backtracking or reacting hurriedly,” he said, adding that “we should not be worried that some moves can create breaches in our negotiating line.”
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci have been engaged in UN-led talks since May 2015 with a view to reunite the island under a federal roof.
The UN Conference on Cyprus will reconvene in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, on June 28 at the political level, under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The Conference will take place with the participation of President Anastasiades and Akinci, as well as Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom as guarantor powers, and in the presence of the European Union as an observer.
Article written by CNA
On the 15th of June the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK held its biennial elections for its Secretariat and Officers. Christos Karaolis, the first third-generation Cypriot to hold the position, was re-elected as President. Reflecting on his first term, Mr Karaolis said that “whilst we’ve had a lot of successes over the last two years to advance the Cyprus Issue and the UK Cypriot community, there is still much more to do. I’m looking forward to working with our new team which has an exciting balance of young energy and experience.”
Mr Karaolis highlighted two key areas of focus for his second term. Firstly, Mr Karaolis spoke of the importance of raising awareness of the Cyprus Issue by further expanding Cyprus’ parliamentary friends, as well as building partnerships with other diasporas and organisations. Secondly, he spoke about the need to develop a comprehensive strategy to engage second- and third-generation Cypriots to further advance the community.
The Federation elected its Secretariat and, from the members of the Secretariat, elected its President, 3 Vice Presidents, General Secretary, and Treasurer. The full list of names and their positions can be found below.
A notable outcome of this year’s election was that, for the first time, a quarter of the Federation’s Secretariat are now under the age of 38. The Federation’s member associations welcomed this as a very positive sign that young, British-born Cypriots are actively engaged with the future of the UK Cypriot diaspora, as well as the Cyprus Issue. The large proportion of younger Secretariat members will bring fresh ideas and energy to the organisation and the UK Cypriot
The following were elected as Officers of the Federation:
President | Christos Karaolis
Vice Presidents | Andreas Papaevripides, Bambos Charalambous, Michalis Ellinas
General Secretary | Michael Kashis
Treasurer | Ninos Koumettou
Antonia Michaelides (via NEPOMAK UK)
Christos Tuton (via NEPOMAK UK)
Harry Charalambous (via NEPOMAK UK)
Katia David Harmanda
Mary Helen Karaolis
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According to the latest statement by the police, 17 people so far have lost their lives after a massive blaze wiped out on the early hours of Wednesday the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in North Kensington.
The authorities expect the number of dead to rise even further.
Emergency services have said that their rescue crews do not expect to find anyone still alive inside the now charred residential tower.
30 people remain in hospital, with 17 of those in critical care.
London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said on Thursday morning that the identity of a number of victims had been confirmed. “But we know there will be more.”
She also stressed that because of the size of the building and the scale of destruction a complete search might take weeks to complete.
Asked about how many people are still unaccounted for Met Police Commander Stuart Cundy said it would be “wrong and incredibly distressing” to give a number.
Prime Minister Theresa May has announced a public inquiry into the tragedy.
Article written by LGR
Twelve people have died in the blazing inferno that overnight wiped out a residential tower in West London. The number of fatalities is expected to rise, according to the authorities.
Earlier police reports had confirmed the death of six people.
Commander Stuart Cundy of the Met police told reporters that he expects “the number of fatalities will increase beyond those 12”.
Danny Cotton, London Fire Brigade Commissioner, during her early morning press briefing described the Grenfell Tower fire as ‘completely unprecedented’.
The ambulance service announced that 68 people had been taken from the scene by its crews to six hospitals across the capital, with 18 in critical care. Another 10 found their own way to the hospital.
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Bambos Charalambous, who stood for Labour in Enfield Southgate, becomes the first ever Greek Cypriot in history to be elected a Member of Parliament after winning with 24,989 votes a healthy majority of 4,335 on a 74.3% turn-out.
The Greek Cypriot ousted the Conservative party’s sitting MP David Burrowes, who had held the predominantly Tory seat since 2005.
Charalambous has been a councillor in Palmers Green since 1994.
He told LGR that his stunning victory is largely owed to his Tory opponent’s strong identification with Brexit although people in the north London constituency ”had voted overwhelmingly against it in the referendum.”
As for the other two Greek Cypriot candidates, Conservative candidate Jason Charalambous came with 9,925 votes second to Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry in Islington South & Finsbury, and 22-year-old Anton Georgiou with 2,519 finished third for the Liberal Democrats in Brent Central.
Article written by London Greek Radio
The Executive Committee of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK after an emergency meeting on Sunday morning sent letters to the Prime Minister Theresa May and the Mayor of London Shadik Khan condemning Saturday’s “tragic terrorist attack” and expressing the Cypriot community’s commitment to “stand together and defend the common values that we share in the UK.”
Below you can read the letters signed by the NFC’s President Christos Karaolis.
Article written by LGR
The first Cyprus-Israel-Greece tripartite meeting was held in London on Tuesday 30 May, where Government and Community representatives met to discuss:
The positive relations between the three countries and their diasporas.
How to deepen the ties that already exist at a community level in the UK.
Areas of potential cooperation in the UK where there are shared interests.
Cyprus’ Presidential Commissioner for Diaspora Cypriots, Mr Photis Photiou, was welcomed to the Cyprus High Commission on Tuesday 30 May to discuss the positive and deepening diaspora relations between Cyprus, Greece and Israel. Their Excellencies, the High Commissioner for Cyprus, Mr Euripides Evriviades; the Ambassador of Israel, Mr Mark Regev; and the Ambassador of Greece, Mr Dimitris Caramitsos-Tziras, were present to lead the meeting and share their valuable reflections. They were joined by representatives of the UK Jewish diaspora (from the Board of Deputies of British Jews), the UK Cypriot diaspora (from the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK) and the UK Greek diaspora (from the Hellenic Bankers Association of the UK, the Greek Energy Forum, the Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee, and the Engineer’s Society of Great Britain).
The meeting in London followed on from the 2nd Trilateral Summit Declaration signed in Jerusalem in December 2016 between Cyprus, Israel and Greece and the first trilateral meeting on diaspora issues in Jerusalem in March 2017.
Mr Evriviades opened the meeting in London by welcoming Mr Photiou and the two Ambassadors to the Cyprus High Commission. He then spoke of the need for “community-driven, grassroots cooperation that will serve the interests of all parties to promote shared values and interests.” He welcomed this initial meeting and said that he “believed that tangible outcomes were possible thanks to the drive of the diaspora organisations”.
Mr Photiou then addressed the meeting and highlighted some specific issues that the diasporas of Cyprus, Israel and Greece could cooperate on such as political advocacy, tourism, youth organisations and culture.
Mr Photiou concluded by saying that he was “very pleased to see that there were already good relations between the diaspora communities in the UK and he looked forward to their continued strengthening”. Ambassador Regev said that he considers the tripartite relationship to be “win, win, win for the three countries” and emphasised the importance of all three countries in the history of the Western world. He said that one of the many common values between the countries was “a great pride about the past but also the strength to embrace the future.” Ambassador Caramitsos-Tziras outlined how the positive trilateral relations showed stability in a “troubled neighbourhood” and how he wanted to see the diaspora organisations “embrace the opportunity to work together in the fields of politics, business, science and academia because all three diasporas excel in those areas in the UK.”
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