Cypriot-Americans Vow to Continue Struggling for Freedom in Cyprus

By Demetrios Rhompotis.

A call to unity and action despite the negative messages coming from Turkey, was the main theme at this year’s Cyprus Federation of America (CFA) annual National Convention held this past March in New York on the eve of the Greek-American parade.

Addressing the meeting and touching upon the ongoing UN-led talks towards a solution of the Cyprus problem, the country’s Ambassador to Washington Pavlos Anastasiades said that “many of the proposals put forward by the Turkish Cypriot side, jeopardize the agreed base for a settlement.“

Sitting, left to right: Evangelos Kyriakopoulos, NY Greek Consul, Aghi Balta, NY Consul General of Greece, Ambassador Minas Hadjimichael, Permanent Rep of Cyprus to the U.N., Ambassador Pavlos Anastasiades, Cyprus Ambassador to Washington, Cypriot Health Minister Christos Patsalides, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America, Greek Minister Christos Papoutsis (Minister of Citzen’s Protection), Eleni Panarites, Greek Parliamentarian, and Spyros Moschopoulos,Greek Parliamentarian. Standing: Andy Comodromos, Stavros Kamilaris, Stathis Zambas, Soteroula Karacostas, Peter Kakoyiannis, Consul General Koula Sophianou, Christos Karamanos, Peter Papanicolaou, Michalis Andreou, Philip Christopher (in front of him), Dr. Dia Christodoulidou (behind her), Angela Georgiades, Peter Louca, Christos Nicolaou, Despina Axiotakis, Endy Zemenides, Costas Tsentas, Angelos Angeli, Vassos Vassiliou, Harry Theofanous and Nicos Zittis. Photo: Courtesy NEO magazine

Health Minister of the Republic of Cyprus, Christos Patsalides, represented the government and delivered a message by President Demetris Christofias, in which his heartfelt thanks to all Cypriot Americans for their contribution to the effort to solve the Cyprus problem was expressed. Pointing to Turkey’s intransigence and the counterproductive positions of the Turkish Cypriot leadership, which is under Ankara’s control, Minister Patsalides reaffirmed President Christofias’ decisiveness for a solution with the aim to reunify the island, not to de jure separate it. “We are not the obstacle …We have to be united in order to address Turkey’s plans,” Patsalides declared, while making clear that contrary to the negotiation format that led to the Annan Plan failure “we do not accept any timeframes or arbitration …Our efforts aim at reaching a mutually accepted, just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem, that will bring an end to the occupation and the illegal settling and will guarantee the human rights of all the people of Cyprus.” And he concluded by calling his Cypriot American compatriots to continue the struggle, while maintaining unbreakable ties with the homeland.
A host of officials from both Cyprus and Greece addressed the meeting as did many prominent members of the diaspora, Achbishop Demetrios of America among them.

Citizen’s Protection Minister of Greece Christos Papoutsis saluted CFA’s Annual Convention and called for greater cooperation with the United States, especially with those segments that can play a catalyst role in solving the Cyprus issue in a way that guarantees the integrity of the state and the people’s rights. He also said that despite the economic hardships, Greece will continue standing side by side with Cyprus until the island is renunified.

PSEKA President Philip Christopher addressing the convention reminded those present of the hard work still ahead and called for intensifying the efforts and focusing more in securing the votes of key members of the American Congress.

CFA President Peter Papanicolaou, who was re-elected at the convention, presented the federation`s work in bringing the Cyprus problem at the forefront of the American mainstream. He ended by promising no to spare any effort in continuing the struggle, as long and as much as it takes in terms of time and financial commitment.

The federation was formed on November 10, 1950 and was registered under the name of Cyprus Federation of America, Inc. on May 25, 1951. The resolution made for the establishment of CFA was signed on April 12, 1951. The first constitution was approved by the First National Convention on October 21, 1951.

In 2002, CYCA (Cyprus Youth Association of America) was established for the Cypriot youth of ages 17 to 30. The purpose of this division of the Cyprus Federation of America is to keep the Greek Cypriot culture and identity alive. CYCA has about 100 members and operates on a global level.

This story was first published in NEO magazine (April 2011 issue)