WCC welcomes resumption of peace talks on Cyprus
The World Council of Churches (WCC) has hailed news of a resumption of talks between Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot leaders on the longstanding division of the island of Cyprus.
The statement, issued on 18 May in Geneva by WCC general secretary Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, encouraged leaders on both sides, affirming their announced commitment “to work tirelessly to reach as soon as possible a comprehensive settlement of the Cyrus question” and to pursue a “shared vision for a united federal Cyprus.”
The island has been divided since 1974, when a coup d’état on the island led to a Turkish invasion and eventually a ceasefire and UN-patrolled buffer zone between the Greek and Turkish portions of the island.
Resumption of UN-brokered peace negotiations was announced by Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and recently-elected Turkish Cypriot president Mustafa Akinci, who are looking for a breakthrough in peace negotiations which had stalled in October last year.
Tveit’s statement praised the political leaders, the work of UN negotiator Espen Barth Eide, as well as the persistence of religious leaders from both sides in pursuing dialogue. “I congratulate HB Chrysostomos II, Archbishop of the Church of Cyprus, and Dr Talip Atalay, Mufti of Cyprus, for their personal leadership in this regard, and I pray that they will be further strengthened to continue to lead the way on this pilgrimage of justice and peace,” said Tveit.