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Aims For Reunification in Cyprus

Sep 5, 2008
In addition to the reunification talks set for the 3rd September this year, between the Greek Cyprian president Demetris Christofias and his Turkish counterpart Mehmet Ali Talat, the two leaders wish to rehabilitate areas within the UN buffer zone (a 300km stretch of deserted land, running along the border and through towns such as Nicosia and Famagusta) and prevent illegal dumping.

They have drawn up a series of 'confidence boosting measures' with instructions to implement them immediately, to aid the peace process:

Work together in crisis situations.

For environmental experts to collaborate, exchanging ideas and information.

Work together to prevent wildfires.

Address waste management, treatment and recycling and increase awareness of water saving.

To reach a common approach towards mining and quarrying.

Find an agreement on biodiversity and nature protection.

To control and manage marine maritime pollution.

To control and manage asbestos pollution.

To control and manage historical pollution.

Compile a list of immovable Cyprian cultural heritage.

Form concrete plans for two pilot restoration projects.

Create guidelines for an interactive educational computer programme.

To exchange information and intelligence on criminal matters.

Despite making progress and working together to introduce these measures, the two leaders still cannot agree over the reunification of Cyprus. Northern Cyprus, the TRNC, wish to create a brand new Cyprian state, whilst the Greek Cypriots wish to reintroduce the old Republic of Cyprus with full inclusion of Turkish Cypriots.

Prior to the meeting, President Christofias outlined how he personally would like to reunify the island; he wished for a single sovereignty with rotating presidency, one citizenship, one economy and one 'international personality'. He also spoke of both the Cyprian and Turkish communities being politically equal; however, somewhat contradictory to this aim, Christofias said that a president from the Greek Cypriot community would hold the office for a longer period, whilst the vice-president would come from the other community.

Greek Cypriots view the Turkish as invaders and the TRNC as an unlawful occupation of the northern part of their island. A petition was made by the Petitions Committee of the European Parliament supporting a report condemning the Turkish occupancy, with 26,000 Greek signatures.

The report states that as a candidate country Turkey is under obligation to respect fundamental principles of the EU, i.e. respect for civil liberties and property rights. The Famagusta Refugee Council (FRC) believes that Greek ownership would allow communities to co-exist more peacefully and together develop economic independence.

The Turkish Cypriot president has not commented on the issue, however Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, publicly supported the Turkish Cyprian President, "Turkey will continue to support the constructive approach of Talat". He believed a solution would be achieved by the end of the year.

Although the leaders have conflicting ideas concerning the reunification of Cyprus, there does not seem to be animosity between the two communities. It is not hard for visiting EU citizens or either communities to cross the divide. It is generally a simple case of presenting a passport, with the exception of non-EU citizens crossing from the north to the south.
About the Author
Hannah Walker is a writer for www.whiterocksbafra.com
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