Top UN official in Cyprus stresses civil society’s role in building inter-communal trust

6 May 2011
Special Representative Lisa Buttenheim launches Home for Cooperation in the buffer zone in Nicosia

The top United Nations official in Cyprus today stressed the importance of the engagement of civil society and the public in moving the peace process forward through building trust between communities on the Mediterranean island to ensure any future unity agreement is sustainable.

“While Cyprus remains divided today, it is an island whose inhabitants are bound together by a common culture and history,” said Lisa Buttenheim, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Cyprus, at the launch of Home for Cooperation, an inter-communal centre that will promote research and dialogue.

“Across the island we have witnessed increasing numbers of Cypriots take part in events and activities which encourage deeper personal bonds and greater understanding,” said Ms. Buttenheim at the inauguration of the centre in Nicosia.

The UN has been facilitating talks between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leadership with a view to the eventual establishment of a Federal Government with a single international personality, consisting of a Turkish Cypriot Constituent State and a Greek Cypriot Constituent State, each of equal status.

Ms. Buttenheim said that the Home for Cooperation will provide institutional support to civil society organizations, while offering a common space where researchers, educators, historians, artists and others, from both communities and beyond “will come together to learn, to test and share ideas, demonstrating along the way the tremendous potential and promise that cooperation and dialogue hold for Cyprus.”

On the continuing reunification talks, the Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris Christofias and his Turkish Cypriot counterpart, Dervis Eroglu, met yesterday and agreed on the guidelines on international treaties which would be binding on a united Cyprus.

In accordance with the guidelines, a sub-committee of experts on international treaties will meet to review existing treaties, declarations and reservations from both sides and propose a joint list of treaties that would be binding on a united Cyprus to be appended to the future settlement.

 

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