Pro reunification group UniteCyprusNow (UCN) have called for the immediate implementation of confidence-building measures, raising concerns that recent actions taken on both sides of the divide have created tension and caused discontent among the people of Cyprus.
These actions, the group said, have not only provoked negativity among people but have further discouraged economic and social co-operation.
“Since the collapse of the Crans Montana negotiations, the political establishments on both sides have not only failed to implement any confidence-building measures to help normalise human relations but have actively and intentionally taken steps to poison anything positive that had been created in the early stages of the negotiations,” UCN said in a statement.
They added that examples of this growing negative trend are too many to list but include the decision by the Customs Department to carry out checks on Greek Cypriot cars at the crossing points, the operation of an “ethnically segregated beach” in Famagusta, the refusal of visas to third-country nationals at Larnaca airport, the tax on humanitarian aid delivered by the UN to the enclaved, the attempt to prevent visits to cultural heritage monuments in the north through a note verbale to embassies, the inability to open new crossing points and a lack of effective action against attacks on Turkish Cypriot cars in the south.
Some of these actions have been reversed, UCN said, “but it is even more alarming to observe that in some of these cases elected officials have denied any responsibility and failed to give satisfactory explanations of how bureaucrats have acted unilaterally on issues that have a direct influence on the peace process in Cyprus.”
A country where there are obstacles in the contact between people, where funding of spaces that encourage bi-communal relations are being hindered, where beaches are segregated, humanitarian aid is taxed, and racist attacks are left unpunished, they said, “is not a country, those of us who want peace and reconciliation, want to live in, to raise our children and to engage in business.
“We firmly believe that the solution to the aforementioned issues and many more is the solution of the Cyprus problem. A solution not through separation and division but through reunification under a federation,” UCN said. “Above all, in the long run, it will be in the economic interest of both communities, since everyone will benefit, even those groups with a private interest that may be behind the problems that are being created now.”
UniteCyprusNow condemns all actions that erode trust among the people of Cyprus and calls on both sides to commit themselves to the implementation of confidence-building measures without further delay.