TRNC News Today 23rd February 2016

Akıncı will meet with Siber, Kalyoncu and Şahali today

President Mustafa Akıncı is holding contact meetings within the framework of the ongoing negotiations in order to find a solution to the Cyprus problem.

Akinci to meet

Akıncı is coming together with Speaker of the Assembly Sibel Siber and Prime Minister Ömer Kalyoncu and Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Food, Erkut Şahali who deputised for the Foreign Minister.

Turkish Cypriot Negotiator Özdil Nami and Presidential Spokesperson Barış Burcu will also be present at the meeting which will be held at the Presidency.

President Akıncı will also hold a meeting with the Political Party Leaders and Representatives in the TRNC Assembly tomorrow.

“Anastasiades’ Cyprus problem policies are not supported”

According to the result of a survey which was conducted in South Cyprus, it was claimed that a large majority of participants do not support the Greek Cypriot Leader Nikos Anastasiades’ policies on the Cyprus problem.

Nikos Anastasiades

The Greek Cypriot daily Simerini noted that the survey which was conducted by the Greek Cypriot “Cyprus University – Faculty of Political Sciences” challenged the Greek Cypriot Leader Nikos Anastasiades’ speech at the Greek Cypriot Parliament and the following reactions. The newspaper also noted that participants’ support for the Anastasiades Cyprus policy is 14% and according to the 71% of participants Anastasiades’ attitude on the Cyprus problem is not right. 15% of participants answered this question as “I do not know/ I do not reply.”

According to the report, 60% of participants reported that they do not believe that Anastasiades did “everything possible” and 26% “believe it”. As an answer to a question “how the future plans will be”, 46% of participants responded as “worse than Annan Plan”, 24% participants responded “similar to Annan Plan” and 14% participants responded “better than the Annan Plan”.

Related to the negotiations in order to solve the Cyprus problem, 45% of participants reported that “the Cyprus problem still has the way to go”, 51% reported that the Cyprus problem has been solved and now people are in the preparation stage to accept the solution.

TRNC Tourism promoted at the tourism fair in Holland

TRNC tourism was promoted at the “Fiets En Wandelbeurs” Tourism Fair which was held in Utrecht, Holland.

Tourism Fair Holland

The fair was held with the participation of the Tourism Ministry together with the sector stakeholders within the framework of overseas tourism promotion and marketing activities between the dates of 20-21 February.

The brochures included  general information about the TRNC, in the Dutch and English languages, about Lefkoşa, Girne, Gazimağusa, Güzelyurt, İskele-Karpaz regions, with road maps, and the brochures, entitled “50 reasons to visit Northern Cyprus”, were distributed at the TRNC stand.

Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage and UNDP jointly condemned arson attack on Denia Mosque

The condemnation messages continue after the arson attack on Denia Mosque which occurred on the night of 20th February.  After the condemnation messages of President Mustafa Akıncı, the President of Religious Affairs Prof.Dr.Talip Atalay and the Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiades, the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage and the United Nations Development Programme also jointly condemned the arson attack against the Denia Mosque.

Technical Committe condemn attack

According to the statement given, representatives of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage and UNDP immediately visited the Mosque on Sunday morning in order to assess the damage which is limited to the roof of the Mosque.

The UNDP indicated that they are ready to provide any necessary assistance for the restoration of the damaged roof. It was also stated that they are already working in full coordination with the local authorities to ensure the future protection of the mosque.

Furthermore the joint statement continued as follows:

“The Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage and the United Nations Development Programme stand united by all communities of Denia and Cyprus and will continue in their efforts to safeguard Cyprus heritage”

Denia Mosque was built in the mid-19th century and was restored three years ago under the auspices of the bi-communal Technical Committee for Cultural Heritage supported by EU funds with help from the UNDP. It was one of the first heritage sites selected by the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage to benefit from emergency measures within the EU funded and UNDP implemented programme.

The re-unification of Cyprus: a success Europe really needs

Foreign Minister Emine Çolak’s article entitled “The re-unification of Cyprus: a success Europe really needs” was published in Germany’s Der Tagesspiegel newspaper. The original full text is as the following:

Emine Colak

These are testing times for the Mediterranean, with refugees scrambling to Europe’s shores and a Middle East beset with religious extremism and ethnic violence. But amid the doom and gloom in the region, there is a glimmer of hope to be found as the divided island of Cyprus edges closer to a historical reunification deal. Berlin, with its extraordinary experience of uniting a divided country, could help break the stalemate.

Since UN-brokered negotiations resumed in the spring of 2015, both Turkish and Greek Cypriots have worked tirelessly towards reaching an agreement to reunify our island, which has been divided for over half a century. With continued political will from both our sides and greater international support, in particular from Germany, a durable and just agreement could be reached within months. Cypriots on both sides of the island would benefit enormously from Germany’s assistance and its inspirational leadership on unity to help us cross the finish line.

Emine Colak 2

We are the closest we have ever been to reaching a fair and lasting settlement with our Greek Cypriot partners. Over the past ten months our two sides have reached common ground on a range of issues: from the mechanics of power-sharing in a future united Cyprus state to the structure of its judicial institutions and ensuring the political equality of our two communities.

We have also put in place a number of confidence building measures, aimed at building trust and improving daily interactions between our two sides. These include the opening of two crossing points across the UN Green Line and the removal of visa forms by the Turkish Cypriot side for crossing the border. An ad-hoc committee on education has been set up to investigate the revision of contentious content in school textbooks and our electricity grids have been interconnected – a temporary measure that we hope will be made permanent. Our business communities are also exploring co-operation on future projects.

In the cultural sphere, a committee has been established which promotes joint cultural and historical events, with performers and audiences consisting of both Turkish and Greek Cypriots. Religious figures on both sides of the island are also in regular contact and access has been increased to religious sites in both the North and the South, some of which have been closed to the public for decades.

An Ad Hoc Committee on EU preparation has also been established within the framework of the UN led settlement negotiations to better prepare the future Turkish-Cypriot Constituent State for the implementation of the EU Acquis upon entry into force of the settlement agreement.

The Ad Hoc Committee on EU has started its activities with specific issues that require urgency for the lifting of the Green Line and implementing the EU law on the first day of the settlement.

For the first time technical personnel from the administrations of both sides had the chance to sit together and discuss issues pertaining to their future common state. A new development that has taken place is the decision of the European Commission to place the Task Force for the Turkish Cypriot Community under the direct management of President Junker and Vice-President Dombrovskis. Our hope and expectation is that this will create a new impetus in facilitating the process for the reunification of Cyprus.

Behind this progress stand two presidents, the Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akinci and his Greek Cypriot counterpart Nicos Anastasiades, who were born in the city of Limassol within a year of each other. The two leaders share more than just a hometown and an appreciation of the island’s troubled history: they share a vision of a reunified Cyprus. The election of President Akinci last year, who had campaigned on a peace platform, has created a new momentum for unification.

It is not just the leaders of our two communities who share a hunger for peace, it is above all the people of Cyprus who want to put an end to over half a century of separation and stagnation. That is why we must take this unique opportunity and make the most of the new momentum.

But to reach that elusive final settlement, we need the support of the international community, especially key actors such as Germany. Finding a solution to the Cyprus issue is not just important for Greek and Turkish Cypriots – it is also in the interest of Germany and Europe, as Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier pointed out during a recent visit to our island.

A lasting solution in Cyprus would give an important economic boost to a region mired in debt and destruction. According to some estimates, reunification could boost our island’s GDP by €5 billion within five years and €10 billion within 20 years. More importantly though, a settlement would add some much needed stability to the East Mediterranean region. It would also provide hope and a model of co-existence for our entire continent – proving that persistent diplomacy and political courage can produce historical breakthroughs. A peacefully unified Cyprus, an island shared by Christians and Muslims for over five hundred years, would remind the world that no conflict need be permanent.

Germany, a beacon of unification for all Cypriots, can help make this a reality.  Germany has a wealth of technical and diplomatic expertise. Its experience in bringing together East and West can help us navigate our way through the last stages of the reunification process, helping us reach fair compromises on thorny issues such as the restitution of property and compensation.

Supporting a unity deal in Cyprus would be a way for Germany to show the world that it is an active and altruistic player in the Eastern Mediterranean. In these troubled times, there is so much that is beyond our control; things that as Europeans we cannot fix or solve. The Cyprus Problem is not one of these issues: it has become soluble. Peace is within reach.

With help from our German friends and the international community, Turkish and Greek Cypriots could soon restore hope to a region in desperate need of good news.

Timelines for Cypriots to decide, US State Department Deputy Spokesperson says

The US supports the best chance in decades for a Cyprus settlement, the US State Department Deputy Spokeperson Mark Toner has said, highlighting however that as for timelines, that is something for Cypriots to decide.

Department of State

Toner was replying to a question on the Secretary General`s optimism about a solution in Cyprus this year.

“The United States fully supports the UN-facilitated process under UN Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide,” he said.

As we have said, he added, “we are encouraged by the progress Cypriot leaders have made in recent months.”

“We continue to support efforts by the parties to reach a settlement to reunify the island as a bizonal, bicommunal federation, which would benefit all Cypriots as well as the wider region,” Toner continued.

Buttenheim’s appointment in new role officially announced

UN Secretary General`s Special Representative in Cyprus Lisa Buttenheim`s appointment as Assistant Secretary General in the Department of Field Support in succession of Anthony Banbury was officially announced on Monday during a press briefing by UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric.

Lisa Buttenheim

“In response to questions regarding the succession of former Assistant-Secretary-General in the Department of Field Support, Anthony Banbury, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General has, in recognition of her long and successful service in the United Nations, decided to appoint Lisa Buttenheim as Assistant-Secretary-General in the Department of Field Support”, he said.

He added that Buttenheim “currently serves as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General leading the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP), and, in that role, participates in the Secretary-General`s good offices on Cyprus as deputy to Special Envoy Espen Barth Eide.”

“Given the ongoing negotiations between the sides in which Ms. Buttenheim plays a key role, the Secretary-General has asked Ms. Buttenheim for now to continue with her work in Cyprus and delay her rotation back to New York”, he noted.

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