By Thanasis Gavos – London
Andros Kyprianou, the Secretary-General of AKEL has held a “potentially very beneficial” meeting with senior members of the UK Labour party, during a visit to London.
The meeting was the latest in a series of actions by the British major opposition party to re-establish itself as a leading pro-Cypriot force in the political landscape of Westminster,
Not that Labour had lost its connection to the populous Cypriot community in the UK. Ed Miliband’s party features some of the oldest friends of Cyprus among its Members of Parliament and councillors.
In recent years though Conservative MPs have managed to become more prominent and very active in their support, helped by the fact that they are in government and that they dominate the north London constituencies where there is large concentration of voters with Greek Cypriot origin.
The meeting with Mr Kyprianou was organised by Sir Alan Meale, rightfully considered an expert on Cyprus among his peers. Also present at the House of Commons room was Gareth Thomas, Labour’s shadow Minister for Europe, whose willingness to become actively acquainted and engaged with the Cypriot community in recent months has helped his party regain some of the lost momentum – and at a very crucial juncture with the general election in the UK coming up next May.
Two more old friends of Cyprus, Andy Love MP and Jim Sheridan MP grabbed the opportunity to discuss face-to-face with Mr Kyprianou the economic situation in Cyprus as well as the developments over the national issue and the ongoing negotiations with the Turkish Cypriot side. The meeting was also attended by Jim Hood and Dave Watts.
Mr Kyprianou left more than satisfied after almost two and a half hours of sincere exchange of views, during which he gladly noted the Labour politicians’ desire to undertake initiatives in favour of Cyprus not only in the UK, but also internationally.
IBNA understands that Mr Kyprianou will be forwarding to the Labour MPs, through the London-based branch of AKEL, some suggestions on specific initiatives within the framework of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
Speaking after the meeting, the AKEL leader said that it can prove “very beneficial” as long as such meetings are held more regularly. Already, Messrs Sheridan and Hood are expected to visit Cyprus in early August, with Mr Kyprianou planning to organise a series of high profile meetings for them.