Members of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) in the European Parliament visited on Wednesday the green line in Nicosia, accompanied by AKEL MP Giorgos Loukaides and the party’s MEPs Takis Hadjigeorgiou and Neoclis Sylikiotis.
Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson said this was the image she would take back to Ireland to warn over the consequences of a Brexit without a backstop and expressed the MEPs’ support for the reunification of Cyprus.
The MEPs are visiting the island in the framework of the GUE/NGL study days, which are being held in Nicosia between January 8-10.
Anderson noted that it was “crucially important” that the MEPs visited Nicosia and the green line, “the place that is dividing the capital of Cyprus” and “it’s absolutely shocking to see that so many years on, that the Cypriot people, and particularly AKEL, are trying to make all of the great efforts that they are doing to reunify the country”.
There is no doubt, she added, that Cyprus should be a single, sovereign state, with Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots living together and “that is achievable, that is doable” she noted.
“Personally, as a Sinn Féin delegation from Ireland we know the legacy of partition, we know the damage it does to your country and continues to do and it needs to be dealt with” said the MEP.
“I am very struck today as I stand here” Anderson noted. “We have prevented physical infrastructure on the island of Ireland and this is what could await the people of Ireland and the island of Ireland if the backstop is not achieved, cause what the backstop does is prevent physical infrastructure on Ireland” she stressed.
“So for me, this is the image that I will be taking back to Ireland to show the damage of partition, to show being partitioned by a government, by a country, it’s not an EU country, therefore even though it has a custom union relationship with the EU you still have physical separation on the capital dividing Cyprus. That is unacceptable so we will continue our unwavering solidarity and support for the reunification of Cyprus”.
AKEL MP Giorgos Loukaides expressed his party’s gratitude for the “stable, consistent and determined support” of the GUE/NGL for Cyprus. “A principled stance that is the voice of the Cypriot people in the European Parliament” he said, and “expresses their struggle to end the occupation and partition and achieve a solution of a bizonal bicommunal federation, the only solution that could lead to liberation and reunification”.
Cyprus remains divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion of the island. Numerous UN-backed talks, aiming at reunifying the island under a federal roof, have failed to yield any results. The latest round of peace talks took place in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans Montana but ended inconclusively.