Global Village's Elders To Visit Northern Cyprus

LEFKOSA - A delegation of "the Elders" --a group of renown and trusted leaders aiming at addressing the global issues-- will visit Wednesday the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) to encourage the unification of the island.

The Elders delegation consisting of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former Algerian Foreign Minister Lakhdar Brahimi will meet Wednesday political leaders of Turkish and Greek Cypriot communities in the island at the Ledra Palace hotel in the buffer zone.

The delegation will hold a press conference Thursday at Ledra Palace Hotel after meeting TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talat.

A press release issued by "the Elders" emphasized that the delegation would not be involved in the current negotiations which was launched on September 11th.

"We are here to say that the world wants this island to find peace ? we wish it with all our hearts. We encourage all Cypriots to look forward to the potential benefits that a peaceful resolution can bring. And we want to make sure that the current efforts of the Cypriot leaders to reach a lasting settlement are fully supported by the international community," said Elders? Chairman Archbishop Tutu in the press release.

"The Elders" was founded in 2007 by Nelson Mandela upon the suggestion of musician Peter Gabriel and businessman Richard Branson.

Inspired by the traditional village elders, trusted by their people to resolve conflicts within their communities, Gabriel and Branson came up with the idea of a new gathering of world leaders who would guide and support the "global village".

With these intentions Nelson Mandela, Graça Machel and Desmond Tutu have convened a group of leaders to contribute their wisdom, independent leadership and integrity to tackling some of the world's toughest problems.

--HISTORY OF THE CYPRUS ISSUE--

Cyprus joined the EU as a divided island when Greek Cypriots in the south rejected the UN reunification plan in twin referendums in 2004 even though the Turkish Cypriots in the north overwhelmingly supported it. The promise made by EU foreign ministers before the referendums to end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots and establish direct trade with North Cyprus remains unfulfilled.

Gaining independence from the UK in 1960, Cyprus became a bi-communal Republic where Greek and Turkish Cypriot constituent communities would share power guaranteed by the UK, Turkey and Greece. However, reluctant to share power and pursuing a policy of Enosis (Union) with Greece, Greek Cypriots soon expelled Turkish Cypriots from power and terrorised and ghettoised them.

Decades long armed attacks on the defenceless Turkish Cypriots culminated in 1974 when an Athens-backed Greek Cypriot military coup on the island led to Turkey's military intervention. Although the Republic of Cyprus as described in the 1959 agreements is no longer there, Greek Cypriots continue to enjoy this title and international recognition while the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, a fully democratic government representing Turkish Cypriots, still suffers under an unfair political and economic blockade.

(OZG-SOL)

(DIP)

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