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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 06-07-03

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community Mehmet Ali Talat have appealed to the international community for ``urgent and generous contributions`` to help the work of the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus (CMP).

    A CMP press release, issued after a meeting between Papadopoulos and Talat, said that their presence at the meeting was a ``tangible`` proof of support and reaffirmation of their commitment to the work of the CMP.

    This was the first time Papadopoulos and Talat met after peace talks on a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus ended in failure in March 2004.

    ``The Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus (CMP) is pleased to announce that Mr Christophe Girod has officially taken up his duties as Third Member of the Committee, during a formal event held within the United Nations Protected Area,`` the press release said.

    ``The CMP was honoured by the presence at the event of their Excellencies, Mr. Tassos Papadopoulos and Mr. Mehmet Ali Talat. The Members of the CMP welcomed their presence as a tangible message of support and was gratified by the reaffirmation of their commitment to the progress of the work of the Committee,`` it added.

    Furthermore it pointed out that ``the CMP also noted with gratitude that the leaders jointly appealed to the international community for urgent and generous contributions to the work of the Committee.``

    The Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Michael Moller, who hosted the event, welcomed Girod.

    ``He emphasised the importance of the work being carried out by the CMP and hoped that his arrival as a full-time Member of the Committee will help accelerate the closing of this painful chapter in the history of Cyprus,`` the CMP press release said.

    The two Cypriot Members (a Greek Cypriot and a Turkish Cypriot) also welcomed Girod and stated that the strengthening of the Committee will contribute to the implementation of its humanitarian mandate for the benefit of the families of missing persons in Cyprus.


    The Interfaith Dialogue can and should become an annual event and permanent feature of the ASEM process, pledged here Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos at the opening ceremony of the second Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Interfaith Dialogue Interfaith understanding and cooperation for a peaceful world to take place in the southeastern coastal town of Larnaca from 3 5 July

    He also said Cyprus is keenly aware of the need for a dialogue as a means of improving mutual understanding of the historical, religious and cultural experiences of one another and put us firmly on the road to close cooperation, rather than mere side-by-side coexistence.

    In his opening remarks, President Papadopoulos said the end of this week marks the one-year anniversary of the horrific terrorist attacks on the London Underground, in which many people lost their lives and hundreds of others were injured. Perpetrators of these attacks, like similar ones in New York, Istanbul, Madrid and Bali before them, disrupted peaceful relations and incited, temporarily, I hope animosity among peoples of different backgrounds, cultures and religions, he said.

    In the shadow of these attacks, in late July 2005, over 130 religious and political leaders, academics and intellectuals from Asia and Europe, met in Bali for the first ASEM Interfaith Dialogue, and examined ways of promoting interfaith harmony through education, culture, social institutions and the media.

    Amongst their conclusions, he added, was the central role that the shared values of peace, justice, compassion and tolerance play in achieving harmony within the international community. The Bali Declaration documented these conclusions and proposed measures towards achieving these goals.

    President Papadopoulos said that the world witnessed a new crisis, spurred by the controversy surrounding the publication of drawings depicting the prophet Mohammed. This crisis demonstrated that mankind continues to suffer from lack of understanding, lack of appreciation of the sensitivities, between people of different faiths and cultures", he stressed.

    President Papadopoulos noted that in an ever-shrinking and interdependent world, interaction between people of diverse cultures and faiths, is inevitably bound to increase with time. We have a choice in how to use the power of this increased contact. We can sit back and let it be exploited by radicals from all sides, used as a vehicle to promote their divisive agenda, with grave consequences for regional and global security, stability and peace; or, we can harness its power, by actively promoting dialogue as a means of improving our mutual understanding of the historical, religious and cultural experiences of one another and put us firmly on the road to close cooperation, rather than mere side-by-side coexistence.

    As a country with a rich multicultural, multi-religious heritage, Cyprus is keenly aware of the need for such dialogue. My countrys two main communities the Greek and Turkish Cypriots as well as the three other religious groups Armenians, Maronites and Latins have lived in peace and cooperation with each other for hundreds of years, interspersed across the island, until the forceful partition of their homeland in the wake of the Turkish invasion and resulting ethnic separation and ethnic cleansing by force of arms, in 1974, the President noted.

    Despite the 32-year-old division, ordinary Greek and Turkish Cypriots continue to exhibit their willingness to live together again, President Papadopoulos stressed, as evidenced in the more than 11 million crossings since the partial lifting of restrictions 3 years ago, without one single incident of violence.

    Turning to the Cyprus problem, President Papadopoulos said the government will spare no effort in working towards a comprehensive solution of the Cyprus Problem, which solution will have as its main objective the reunification of the country, of its institutions, of its economy, of the society and of the people in a bizonal, bicommunal federation.

    Concluding, President Papadopoulos said the Interfaith Dialogue can and should become an annual event and permanent feature of the ASEM process. The momentum gained in the last year, must not be lost. Larnaca is a good opportunity to structure this Dialogue and set guidelines for the future.

    In his speech at the opening ceremony, Minister of Foreign Affairs Yiorgos Lillikas said the 21st century must become the century of peace and this is a vision we can fulfill, for the sake of present and future generations.

    He added that in this effort, religious leaders, more than any one else, have a decisive role to play by bringing forward the values which unite peoples and cultures and also diversity, has to be seen as an enrichment of our societies, rather than a source of conflict.

    Lillikas, said that the world needs creative ideas, to put into practice the global solidarity that all religions advocate.

    He added that goodwill, moderation, justice, spiritual development, nature conservation, tolerance and trust are all shared values that need to be cultivated, in order to harvest the fruit of peace we all aspire to, for our societies and on a global scale.

    On the ASEM meeting, he said that it has an ambitious objective, to come up with an Action Plan, which will be attractive to our citizens of different faiths, cultures and traditions and will inspire them, to engage in mutual support and understanding.

    Lillikas reassured that he will be personally involved, in the work of the Dialogue, together with his Malaysian counterpart.

    Addressing the ASEM, Foreign Minister of Malaysia Hamid Bin Syed Jaafar Al Bar said that cultural and religous diversity can be a source of strength upon which we could build trust and respect for a harmonious relationship.

    I believe diversity and pluralism neither demean nor negate humanity, it instead enriches all Gods creations, he noted.

    He also called upon all leaders to commit themselves their governments and their people to engage in dialogue that will result in tolerance and harmony.

    The Malaysian Minister noted that education and Media can contribute to peace and harmony among people of different religions.

    Referring to his country, he said that in Malaysia the majority of people are Muslims, but the state is governed by among the various ethnic groups hich profess different religions and beliefs.

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