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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-01-09

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Bicommunal Project - US

  • 0750:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Bicommunal Project - US

    by Maria Myles

    Nicosia, Jan 9 (CNA) -- Ongoing discussions between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, under the guidance of a US trainer backed by the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, aim at setting up a think tank in Cyprus, Marco Turk, a Fulbright Senior Scholar, has told CNA.

    Turk also said the group of Greek and Turkish Cypriots, which meets once every six months, speaks for itself only and wants to convey a message to the political leadership on the island, indicating that it does not wish to get in the way of political leaders.

    In an interview with CNA, Turk, the American trainer, said the December meeting of some 30 persons from both sides of the divide came up with recommendations "which the group feels are appropriate under a proposed federal solution."

    These, he explained, are "for anybody who is interested in them, primarily for people in government to see how these people feel."

    Asked if the ultimate objective of these contacts is to set up a think tank, Turk replied "absolutely, because I intend to open up the group and continue work on the issues under discussion."

    The recommendations refer to six chapters, selected by participants, namely the bicommunal movement, structured government, security, human rights, economic and social issues, he explained.

    "These people want to get their message to the politicians, they are not trying to speak for the bicommunal movement, they only speak for themselves," he told CNA.

    Invited to outline the premise on which discussions take place and whether they take into consideration the reality of the situation on the island, Turk replied "they (participants) went through a process of trust, truth, forgiveness and reconciliation, they took the past into consideration in terms of historical necessity and they look to the future and how to achieve peace."

    Replying to questions, he said there were areas of discussion where people felt they did not agree with certain things but "everything was worked out by consensus."

    He said "though strong feelings were expressed there was no acrimony and common courtesy prevailed and people gave recognition to the other persons through a democratic process."

    Turk said 31 persons from all walks of life, all ages and professions, which he picked, participated in the Oslo meeting, some of whom were trained by him or had been involved in bicommunal contacts.

    He expressed the hope that the next such meeting will take place in six months' time to continue work on the issues already discussed and include others too.

    Prior to the Oslo meeting, a 12-member bicommunal steering committee met about once a month, under Turk's supervision, to exchange views in order to prepare a draft paper or a statement of interest and came up with a working paper they took to Norway.

    The Oslo gathering considered these draft proposals and agreed on the final recommendations on the six chapters participants themselves had selected, he said.

    The bicommunal meetings take place with the help of the US Norway Fulbright Foundation for Educational exchange and the International Peace Research Institute in Oslo with the backing of the Norwegian Foreign Ministry.

    CNA MM/MCH/1999
    Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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