The first meeting between members of the Cypriot community in London and MPs from the Labour Party took place in Westminster’s Portcullis House earlier this month with the aim of creating a ‘Labour Party Friends of Cyprus Group’.
The priority of the organising committee that was set up will be to organise a reception at the Houses of Parliament to which Labour MPs and peers will be invited, as well as other interested parties such as the Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain Gregorios, the High Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus Euripides Evriviades, representatives of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK and associations from the Cypriot community.
It was also decided that a sub-committee should be formed consisting of Labour Party councilors, associations of the Federation and other Cypriot associations, as well as representatives from youth organisations and professional bodies. A special reference was made to need for Cypriots living outside London to be represented in the group so that MPs from these areas can be lobbied.
The preparatory meeting highlighted the importance of getting Labour MPs supporting Cyprus to raise and discuss the substance of the Cyprus issue, i.e. the invasion and continued illegal occupation of a significant part of Cyprus by Turkey.
Sir Alan Meale MP, a long-standing friend of Cyprus, noted that there could only be support for a lasting solution to the Cyprus problem and one which would exclude Turkey from any interference.
The attendees also discussed a proposal put forward for an “educational” trip to Cyprus by mainly new Labour MPs, similar to visits for Members of Parliament organised by the Conservative Friends of Cyprus. The idea for the trip is that, apart from it being educational, it could create the conditions for a new resolution on Cyprus, perhaps similar to the one which the Conservative Friends of Cyprus proposed on 16th November, 2015 (regarding Famagusta and the reunification of Cyprus), and which was, through a cross-party motion, voted in favour of by the House of Commons.
MPs in attendance were Sir Alan Meale and Catherine West, while Kate Osamor was also represented.
The proposal at the meeting was that the UK Cypriot attendees would become members of the coordinating committee, provided they accepted the proposal. Those were: Dr Vassilis Mavrou (who initiated and arranged the meeting), Pambos Charalambous, Michalis Kashis, Aris Aristokleous, Marcus Papadopoulos, Jimmy Apostolou, Andreas Loukas and Costas Georgiou. Andreas Karaolis, Secretary of the National Federation of Cypriots also attended.