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Peace group calls for grassroots change in search for solution

Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci meeting with members of the UniteCyprusNow group on tuesday

Grassroot reunification movement UniteCyprusNow said on Wednesday the leaders of the two communities appeared to have lost trust in each other and were reluctant to work together for a successful outcome of the talks process.

In a statement following meetings with Nicos Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci, the movement said a new strategy was now needed to create the conditions necessary to resume the talks and reach a successful outcome.

“A solution needs to come from the people, rather than the failed top-down approach,” it said.

“We repeat our call on both leaders to move forward without delay with steps to create trust, mutual respect and understanding amongst the people of Cyprus and enable economic, educational, cultural, social and sporting cooperation between the north and the south. Only increased interaction, cooperation and interdependence between the sides will unify Cyprus on the ground and make an agreement within reach.”

The movement, which has been particularly active and vocal in recent months, met with the two leaders following acrimonious collapse of the talks in Switzerland early last month. They had a meeting with Anastasiades last Friday and with Akinci on Tuesday.

“UniteCyprusNow feels that both leaders have lost trust in each other and in the negotiations process. There is an obvious blame game and reluctance to work together for the successful finalisation of the talks,” the movement said.

It appealed to ordinary people to join the movement in demanding education about the “only possible” form of a potential solution – bizonal, bicommunal federation.

The group called for urgent action to erode the division at grassroots level, open two crossing points announced by the leaders in 2015, reform the education systems on both sides, and end nationalist rhetoric, which fomented division and mistrust.

Both sides accused the other of being responsible for the gigantic failure of talks in Crans-Montana on July 7.

Greek Cypriots say it was Turkey’s stance on security and guarantees and their position on the remaining chapters that “not only steers away from the UN secretary-general’s framework, but could in no way be accepted”.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu who tweeted within minutes of the collapse that “unfortunately” the Greek Cypriots’ ‘zero guarantees, zero army’ red line could not be overcome. He said negotiating within UN parameters might no longer be the answer for Cyprus.


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