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News, 4/17/2014 | Embassy of Finland, Nicosia

Building Trust for a United Cyprus discussion event organized in Nicosia by the Nordic Embassies

The Embassies of Finland, Sweden and Norway organized a discussion event Building Trust for a United Cyprus in Nicosia on Tuesday April 15th. The event was held at the Home for Co-operation at the UN Buffer Zone. The inputs from the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities were given by the leaders of the biggest parties in each community, Averof Neophytou (DISY) and Özkan Yorgancioglu (CTP), who emphasized the necessity of dialogue at all levels. Mr Neophytou called the on-going negotiations and the process towards a viable solution an opportunity that should not be missed. Mr Yorgancioglu said bravery is needed to defend the future of “our Cyprus”.

Photo: Embassy of Finland Nicosia
The Embassies of Finland, Sweden and Norway organized a discussion event Building Trust for a United Cyprus in Nicosia on April 15th.
Other speakers at the event were the Chief of the UN UNFICYP-mission and the Deputy Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Cyprus, Ms Lisa Buttenheim, the facilitator of the Swedish-lead religious track, Mr Peter Weiderud, the president of the Cyprus friendship group in the Finnish parliament, MP Satu Haapanen, and the former commander of the UNFICYP forces, Major-General (ret.) Ahti Vartiainen.

The goal of the event was to enhance dialogue and trust between the two communities at a moment when the negotiations on reunification are ongoing, but no solution has not yet been reached. “The sides need to make their own leap of faith”, said Lisa Buttenheim. The discussion event was also meant to support the UN Security Council resolutions that emphasize the importance of creating a constructive dialogue between different levels and sectors of the two communities and highlighting the benefits of a settlement.

”A central finding has been that there is more willingness to co-operate than expected, but few opportunities for it”, said Anu Saarela, Ambassador of Finland. ”Focused possibilities for dialogue, interaction between colleagues of the same sectors over the green line and offering physical places for common activities – in a way that everybody feels to be constructive – are concrete steps towards building trust.”

Photo: Embassy of Finland Nicosia
Photo: Embassy of Finland Nicosia

The open format of the event and the active participation of civil society in organizing the event brought the high level negotiations closer to the people. More than 100 people attended.

Ambassadors of the Nordic countries Finland, Norway and Sweden welcomed people to share their views and vision of a united Cyprus. Closing remarks were given by Associate Professor Harry Tzimitras, Director of PRIO Cyprus Center. The moderator of the discussions was Associate Professor Hubert Faustmann, Director of Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation Cyprus.

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Updated 4/17/2014

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