The Labour Party’s ‘Friends of Cyprus Group’ was launched on Tuesday evening at an event held in the UK Parliament, in the presence of the party’s leader Jeremy Corbyn and a number of Labour MPs.
The initiative for the creation of the group belongs to Vassilis Mavrou, who said that he aim is to ”create closer bonds between Labour MPs and Cypriots, both in the UK and in Cyprus.” He noted that Jeremy Corbyn’s support was a catalyst for the launch of the group.
In his address, Corbyn said that he represents a constituency that includes a huge number of Cypriots, both of Greek and of Turkish ethnical background, and that in 1974 he remembers trying to help Cypriots arriving to London as refugees following the invasion by Turkey.
”The contribution made to our communities and our lives by those people is really incredible,” commented the Labour Party leader.
He went on to say that there must be a reunification of Cyprus and a resumption of the collapsed talks.
”Campaigning for Cyprus and having a sense of responsibility towards Cyprus is very important to me. I recognise that the UK is a guarantor power and I want a Labour government to ensure that we fulfil our obligations, to ensure that this means the island of Cyprus gets reunified,” he added.
The first UK Cypriot MP Bambos Charalambous said that there is still hope for a solution, despite the collapse of the talks in Crans Montana. He added that during his recent visit in Cyprus, he realised that Cypriots are worried about the chances to solve the Cyprus problem as with the elections coming up in January, the timing is not ideal.
The Cypriot MP also said that the Labour Party Friends of Cyprus needs to put more pressure on Boris Johnson and the Foreign Office to support Cyprus.
The coordinator of the event and MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, Catherine West, said that the Labour Party will support Cyprus in its efforts to find a just and viable solution.
On her behalf, the hostess of the event, MP Kate Osamor, said she is proud to be part of this newly formed group which aims to take responsibilities and to speak on behalf of the community.
Joan Ryan, MP for Enfield North, said that her constituency is a fantastic example of how Turkish and Greek Cypriots work and live together. “The two communities have more in common than divides them,” she added.
Other MPs that were present and spoke in support of Cyprus and the new group were Angela Rayner, Stephen Doughty, Steve McCabe, Joan Ryan, Roger Gossif, Carolyn Harris, Hugh Gaffney and Caroline Flint.