Press Release: Statement regarding the upcoming 5+1 Meeting in Geneva

22/04/2021

Press Release: Statement regarding the upcoming 5+1 Meeting in Geneva

April 23, 2003, marks a significant turning point in the history of Cyprus negotiations and of the intercommunal relations. On this date, the first crossing point at the Ledra Palace area was opened providing access to the life across the divide; to childhood memories of today’s elderly and to opportunities for a new generation to learn how to live together once again.

On the 18th anniversary of the opening of the first crossing point, we also complete a full year of restricted access due to the closure of the crossings. Now more than ever, we recognize the importance of the interaction between the communities, which became possible through these crossing points. The idea of the Home for Cooperation was realized thanks to the efforts of the founding members across the divide, who were able to work together after 2003, under the new conditions. 2021 marks Home for Cooperation’s 10th year anniversary, and we hope to celebrate together with our friends and followers across the divide soon at our welcoming Home.

In the light of these, we welcome the news about the informal meeting of the two community leaders, guarantor powers UK, Greece and Turkey, and the UN Secretary General, convening in [Geneva] between [27-29 April], after 3 years of pause in the negotiations following the breakdown in Crans Montana.

In these 3 years, we have come to face a pandemic we are still trying to overcome and witnessed the closure of crossing points between the two parts of the island for the first time in 17 years. Located in the Nicosia buffer zone, Ledra Palace area, we have witnessed how vital the crossing points are in strengthening day-to-day relations between the communities of the island and for all peacebuilding efforts on the ground.

Despite all the immediate problems that this closure caused, it has also made it clear that over the years, inseparable ties have been established between the communities across the divide. These do not only include exchanges in the fields of health, trade and economy, but also the creation of true frienships and family connections.

This ‘forced’ distancing due to the closed crossing points, was unfortunately reflected in the policies followed since, by the authorities in relation to the Cyprus issue. Like all peacebuilders, we have been watching these developments with growing concern. Therefore, we hope that the upcoming informal meeting will set the tone for resuming the negotiations on the framework agreed by the leaders of the Greek-Cypriot and the Turkish-Cypriot communities in 2014. As it is agreed, under this framework, the eventual settlement of the Cyprus issue, will be based on a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with political equality, as set out in the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions and the High-Level Agreements.

More than 15 years have passed since the first attempt for reaching a comprehensive peace deal. Now there is a new generation which has grown up with increased interaction and has benefited from various trust building measures over the years. The lives of these young people are not restrained by the dividing lines.

If we are to claim that all this time spent on the negotiating table had amounted to one thing, it would be this generation which has grown up together, and the new memories and relations that have been created between all communities in the island, supported by the collective efforts of civil society through the enabling environment the trust building measures provided over the years.

This is a generation that finds the status quo unacceptable and calls for a change. A change that will unite Cyprus under the EU, where the EU values apply all around our island.

We feel that now is the time for a strong political will to meet the demands of the Cypriot people and respond to the call for peace.

As an intercommunal community centre with an active presence in peacebuilding for the last 10 years in Cyprus, we will continue to do our best in overcoming various barriers in our minds and lives, and state once again that we are committed to support meaningful social and/or political actions towards this end.

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