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Media Watch 2005

21 April 2005
Source: Cyprus Weekly
Comment: The following article appeared in the Cyprus Weekly of Nicosia on 21 April 2005.
Diaspora ‘a superpower’ says Skandalakis
""I believe that when the giant called overseas Greek and Cypriot is awaken and given the necessary tools, they can achieve a lot.""

GREEK Deputy Foreign Minister responsible for matters of the diaspora, Panayiotis Skandalakis, has said that a new impetus should be given to the respective world congresses of Cypriots and Greeks overseas to be held this year.

Speaking after talks yesterday with Foreign Minister George Iacovou, who invited him to the island, Skandalakis said there was a need for specific programmes and targets in order to be able to achieve more than has been achieved so far.

"The diaspora is a super power which can achieve great things if properly coordinated," he said and added: "I believe that when the giant called overseas Greek and Cypriot is awaken and given the necessary tools, they can achieve a lot."

Iacovou said their discussions had covered all the range of activities of the two ministries, such as the education of the expatriates, their organisation and how they could contribute more to promoting national issues".

Skandalakis also noted that Iacovou had briefed him on some problems with the Pontian Greeks living in Cyprus and said:

"I believe that together we can give solutions to the problems common to all who come from the countries of the former Soviet Union. We are going to have a closer cooperation on issues of the diaspora, but also on matters of the Greek Pontians."

Yesterday Skandalakis also met House Speaker Demetris Christofias who said they exchanged views on the possibilities of upgrading the contribution of the diaspora in the Cyprus cause and more general national issues.

Skandalakis noted that expatriates who had reached high positions in the overseas societies they lived were willing to help Cyprus and Greece, provided they were given the means. "Steps are being made, but we need a faster and more stable pace," the Greek Junior Minister said.

He revealed that the Greek Government is preparing a bill on the creation of a Council for Greeks Overseas, to be tabled in parliament towards the end of the year.

On the first day of his visit, Skandalakis was also received by President Papadopoulos. No statements were made afterwards. He also held meetings with expatriate organisations at the Greek embassy and the Acting Head of the Cyprus Holy Synod.

Today he will meet with the municipality of Nicosia and visit the camp of the Greek contingent Eldyk at Malounda. He will leave for Athens in the evening."