Cyprus’ Presidential Commissioner, Photis Photiou, discussed on Wednesday the possibility of signing a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding on diaspora matters with Ireland’s Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Ciarán Cannon, during an one-day working visit to Dublin.
Photiou also briefed his interlocutor about Turkish provocations in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Cyprus and in the fenced-off part of Famagusta, and invited Cannon to pay a visit to Cyprus. The Irish Minister said on his part that his government supports the efforts of the Cyprus government for a settlement and assured that Dublin’s support will continue with regard to the issue of missing persons.
An announcement by the Presidency of the Republic says that during the meeting, the two men discussed ways to cooperate on diaspora matters, with Photiou referring to the common characteristics between the Cypriot and Irish diaspora and underlining the importance of enhancing cooperation between their respective diaspora organisations.
Moreover, they discussed the possibility of signing a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding on diaspora matters, including the provision for establishing a consultation and exchange of information mechanism on diaspora matters and jointly organizing events.
Photiou also briefed Cannon over the latest developments regarding the Cyprus issue, as well as about Turkey’s illegal activities in Cyprus’ EEZ and territorial waters, and in relation to Turkish provocations in the fenced-off part of Famagusta.
The Presidential Commissioner spoke in particular about the humanitarian issue of missing persons and informed his interlocutor about the problems and difficulties due to the negative stance of Turkey over this matter.
He also pointed out the dramatic decrease in locating remains belonging to missing persons, in the Turkish-occupied areas of Cyprus, due to lack of cooperation on the part of Turkey and highlighted the need to exert pressure over this matter on Ankara.
He thanked moreover Ireland for its continuous support regarding the issue of missing persons and thanked Dublin for its financial assistance towards the Committee on Missing Persons.
Photiou also expressed Nicosia’s support and solidarity towards Ireland, and conveyed the commitment of the Republic of Cyprus on the EU position in relation to Britain’s withdrawal from the Union.
The Minister of State thanked Photiou for Nicosia’s support and noted that Ireland supports the efforts of the Cyprus government for a solution, while assuring of Ireland’s continuous support over the issue of missing persons.
Photiou also met with the Ceann Comhairle of Dáil Éireann (parliament speaker), Seán Ó Fearghail, and discussed ties between the two countries. Ó Fearghail reiterated Ireland’s principled stance for a Cyprus solution, and expressed his country’s support to the efforts for a settlement on the basis of UN resolutions.
The Presidential Commissioner also met with the President of the Cyprus-Ireland Friendship Group, Senator Frank Feighan and members of the Group, discussing their mutual will to further strengthen bilateral ties.
The Republic of Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Turkey has ignored numerous UN resolutions calling for the withdrawal of the Turkish troops and respect of the integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The last round of negotiations, in the summer of 2017, at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.
A Committee on Missing Persons has been established, upon agreement between the leaders of the two communities, with the scope of exhuming, identifying and returning the remains of missing persons to their relatives.