By Andria Kades
A bi-communal event on Saturday saw the dividing line in Cyprus erased in a painting, as a symbol of what the two leader’s political parties hope will happen in reality.
Organised in the buffer zone in Nicosia city centre with DISY leader Averof Neophytou and Communal Democracy party leader Cemal Özyiğit, the Unite Cyprus festival sought to send out a message of hope to re-unite the island.
“A few minutes ago, in a symbolic action, my dear friend Cemal, and myself, erased the division line running across a painting of Cyprus. With this bi-communal festival and other events that will follow, we hope to help erase the division in the mindset of our people,” Neophytou said in his address.
“Even if we are able to reach the best possible solution, both communities have to believe in it. Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots must learn to cooperate and trust each other.”
Along with Özyiğit, they painted pictures of a united island with a message saying “Cyprus we can! Unite Cyprus!”
Both leaders’ intention is the drawings are passed on to Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.
Attendees released colourful balloons as a mark of optimism while Neophytou said “today, we open a new window of co-operation. Our decision to co-organise this festival broadens and further strengthens the scope of our cooperation.”
Nevertheless, he sought to remain grounded with an air of positivity. “We do not pretend that the road for reaching a solution is free of difficulties. We understand that the two leaders are currently discussing the most difficult aspects of the problem. We believe that mutually beneficial solutions can be reached.”
“Let us stop perceiving this new peace initiative as a competitive game. A game that one has to lose for the other one to win. Let us work together, sincerely, as one team. Let us create our common European future.”
In his own address, Özyiğit said “today Cypriots are here irrelevant of language, religion or ethnic origin and with their own free will push for a wish to a solution” calling on everyone to work to reunite the island.
A photo exhibition was inaugurated at the event with a music and dance programme at both Ledra street and outside the Megalo Hani (Buyuk Han), where Neophytou and Özyiğit had a coffee, with both crossing the dividing line along with participants.