Cyprus, Greece, Israel to engage diasporas more frequently
Cyprus, Greece and Israel aim to engage their diaspora, in the framework of their trilateral cooperation scheme, in order to promote both common interests as well as their respective national causes by influencing decision-making centres in the US and Europe.
The aim is to organise a regional conference with the participation of members from the diaspora as well as officials from the three countries.
According to Fotis Photiou, the Presidential Commissioner for Humanitarian Issues and Overseas Cypriots, this is the first such conference and will be held in Nicosia, probably next May or September.
The aim is to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) concerning the cooperation of diaspora organisations in countries like the UK, where the Jewish lobby has an important presence.
The issue has been already discussed with the Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Ioannis Amanatidis, while Photiou will be traveling to Israel soon for further consultations.
The Presidential Commissioner met on Tuesday morning, in Nicosia, with Avital Leibovich, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) Director in Jerusalem, where a "first decision" has been taken concerning the regional conference.
Speaking to CNA after the meeting, Leibovich said that "there is a great window of opportunity to continue and strengthen relations between Cyprus and Israel. In a changing Middle East we need to strengthen this bond," she added.
According to Leibovich, "the trilateral meeting and the bilateral meetings that took place just a few weeks ago are just a sign of the strengthened relations between the two countries".
On his part, Photiou noted that the aim of engaging the diaspora of the respective countries is to promote common interests, cooperate on security issues and on stability and peace in the region.
Asked on the expectations from such a regional conference, he said that "the aim is to sign a MoU" in order to enhance cooperation among organised groups.
He said that such cooperation already exists in countries like the United States and the aim was to "have the same [cooperation] elsewhere," in Europe and in countries such as the United Kingdom with a significant Jewish presence.
Through this cooperation, the three countries will be able to promote common interests, which emerge from their trilateral cooperation, as well as highlight the role of Cyprus, Greece and Israel in the stability of the region.
Photiou also spoke about mutual support for promoting national causes, and in the case of Nicosia, the Cyprus problem.
The Presidential Commissioner said finally that the existing annual conference of Overseas Cypriots will continue to take place. He noted, however, that a series of innovations will be introduced.
According to Photiou, the date will change from end of August to the end of July, while a series of sessions will be added to diversify its theme.
The first Cyprus-Greece-Israel tripartite meeting was held in Nicosia, on 28 January with the three governments adopting a joint agreement concerning their cooperation in a number of fields, including the economy, energy and tourism, among others.