TRNC News Today 8th January 2016
Akıncı: “We are continuing the negotiations in a decisive way”
President Mustafa Akıncı said that the Cyprus negotiations are continuing with the goal of a lasting peace in a decisive and efficient way.
Making a brief explanation on his return to the Presidency after a four hour meeting with the Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiades, President Akıncı reminded that the negotiations will continue on 14 January and added that he will meet again with Anastasiades following his visit to Davos on 29 January.
Anastasiades: “The environment in the negotiations is productive”
In his statement following his meeting with President Mustafa Akıncı, Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiades described the environment in the negotiations as very productive.
Anastasiades said that there is a mutual understanding of the difficulties each community faces and in this context they are trying to find ways without underestimating the concerns of one of the parties.
Asked to comment on remarks by Turkish EU Minister Volkan Bozkır that the settlement must become primary law of the EU, Anastasiades said, “Primary law is the law that has allowed the Republic of Cyprus to become a full EU member.”
5 Missing Martyrs were buried
The remains of 5 martyrs Kadir Mehmet, Hasan Kerem Mehmet, Hasan Veli, Şerife Hasan Veli and Pembe Halil Veli who went missing in 1974 and whose identifications were completed as a result of the studies, were buried at the martyrdom in the Lefkoşa Cemetery with a military ceremony.
One of the martyrs’ relatives Halil Esendağlı in his speech reminded that the remains of the five martyrs who were killed and thrown into wells in Esendağ (Petrofan) village on 20 July 1974 were found as a result of the studies of the Committee on Missing Persons.
Esendağlı said that martyrs who had no other crime except for waiting for their children to come and not leave their houses, were shot in various parts of their bodies and were thrown into wells which were covered by soil.
A Survey conducted by UNDP
According to a survey conducted by the UNDP, 53% of Greek Cypriots and 29% of Turkish Cypriots trust one another, compared with 19% and 4% respectively in 2006.
UNDP notes that it has ended a ten year, multi-million dollar initiative that has bridged differences and helped create a dialogue among communities on the long-divided island.
Funded by USAID to the tune of over $60 million USD, the Action for Cooperation and Trust (ACT) programme helped create an intricate set of relationships across ethnic lines, spanning civil society, business and politics.
The programme has also contributed to restoring the island’s historic buildings in a major boost for the island`s memory and identity, it adds.
ACT Programme Manager, Christopher Louise, said that “as the programming draws to a close, we are seeing great optimism with regard to the peace process. The two leaders have committed to a shared goal of reaching a comprehensive settlement as swiftly as possible, while influential civic and political leaders from all communities are now working together to design a societal road map for a solution. These efforts are succeeding because of ACT’s work over the last decade.”
According to the press release, the UN’s work in Cyprus over the decades has resulted in monumental shifts in how the island’s communities deal with each other.
“The peace negotiations show clear signs of progress. But the true legacy of UNDP-ACT has been its ability to create a space for civic dialogue that feeds into the Cyprus peace process, lending it additional legitimacy and credibility”, it concludes.
UNSG encourages leaders in UNFICYP report
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has encouraged the two leaders in Cyprus to maintain the momentum of the Cyprus talks and to continue their efforts to bring the process to a successful conclusion.
In his report on the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus, (UNFICYP), Ban Ki-moon notes that “at this critical juncture in the peace process and with encouraging prospects for an early solution, I count on Cyprus’ international partners to show commitment and resolve in supporting in any way possible initiatives and projects that build trust between the communities and foster support for a solution from the ground up.”
In this regard, he adds, “I am particularly grateful for the sustained partnership between the United Nations and the European Union in support of confidence-building measures and other projects and initiatives, in particular crossing points, support to the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage and the Committee on Missing Persons.”
The UN chief says he is “heartened by the steady determination shown by the leaders in the intensified phase of the negotiations.”
“I encourage them to maintain the momentum and to continue their efforts to bring the process to a successful conclusion and reach a comprehensive settlement as soon as possible”, he points out.
Referring to the confidence building measures he expresses his “firm belief that measures to build confidence are an important element of the current efforts, in that they reflect the common position of the leaders that the status quo is unacceptable.”
Regarding the decision to open additional crossing points at Lefke – Aplıç and Derinya, he encourages “both leaders to expedite preparations and open the crossings without delay.”
According to Ban Ki-moon “the incidents raised concerns about the role of education in perpetrating prejudice and misconceptions and, by contrast, the role education can play, if addressed appropriately, in promoting a culture of peaceful coexistence.”
“In this regard, I praise the leaders for their political vision and courage in establishing a Technical Committee on Education and I urge them to appoint its members without delay,” he notes.
Among others he refers to the progress of the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) noting that as at 18 December, out of a total of 2001 missing persons on the official list, the Committee’s bi-communal teams of archaeologists had exhumed the remains of 1,059 missing persons on both sides of the island.
“To date, the remains of 625 individuals have been identified and returned to their respective families, including 30 during the reporting period,” he says.
Ban Ki-moon also welcomes the confirmation of President Mustafa Akıncı, that the CMP excavation teams will have access to 30 suspected burial sites in military areas in North Cyprus.
“I continue to call upon both community leaders to exert efforts to create a climate conducive to achieving greater economic and social parity between the two sides and to widen and deepen economic, social, cultural, sporting or similar ties and contacts, including a view to encouraging trade,” he points out, adding that “such contacts promote trust between the communities and help to address the Turkish Cypriots’ concerns of isolation.”
Referring to the ongoing dialogue between the religious leaders he notes that it “contributes positively to the climate surrounding the talks”.
“In the critical months ahead, I strongly encourage both sides to continue to support this cooperation including enabling full access for worship to the more than 500 churches and other places of worship in the north and the some 100 mosques in the south”, Ban Ki-moon adds.
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