The leaders and the representatives of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot political parties participating in the bi-communal dialogue under the auspices of the Embassy of the Slovak Republic in Nicosia, agreed on Monday to emphasize the pivotal role that women and young people can play in fostering peace, stability, and reconciliation in Cyprus, they said in the Joint Communiqué, issued after the meeting.

According to an announcement by the Slovak Embassy, circulated today, the leaders and the representatives of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot political parties participating in the bi-communal dialogue, met for their regular meeting on 25 September 2023 at the Ledra Palace.

They expressed opinions on the topic proposed by the hosting party – Democratic Rally (DISY), “Initiatives that the political parties can take to encourage peace and reconciliation among young people and women through their active engagement in peace activities and the negotiation talks (UNSCR 1325)”, it said.

According to the announcement, they recognized that harnessing the potential and invaluable contributions of women in conflict situations was “not only a matter of principle, but also a strategic imperative for our country’s path towards sustainable peace”. “As we navigate the complexities of reunification and reconciliation, it is vital to acknowledge the unique perspectives, experiences, and skills that women and young people bring to the table”, it said. Their voices have the power to reshape narratives, bridge divides, and forge connections between communities that have long been estranged, it adds.

They note that, inclusive and meaningful participation of women and young people is a fundamental human right and an essential pillar of any just and enduring peace process.

They add, that, for all the above reasons, they commit to actions to ensure the active engagement of women in the reconciliation process, among other things, inclusive representation of women and youth at all levels of decision-making, supporting Women-Led Initiatives and advocate for the protection and advancement of women’s rights as integral to the reconciliation process.

They also commit to champion policies that address the specific needs and concerns of women in post-conflict settings, including access to healthcare, education, and economic opportunities, facilitate opportunities for women and youth from different communities to come together, share experiences, collaborate on joint projects and organize events, festivals, and exhibitions that showcase the cultural richness of both communities, and celebrate shared heritage and establish youth-focused programs that provide opportunities for young people from both communities to work together on common goals.

The leaders and representatives of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot political parties agreed to express their gratitude to the late Xenofon Kallis for his valuable contribution for the research and determination of the fate of missing persons from both communities of Cyprus, the announcement said. “His work was catalytic for the humanitarian approach on the issue of the missing persons of Cyprus”, it said, adding that they convey their sincere condolences.

The next meeting, it said, will be held on 26 October 2023 and will be hosted by the Embassy of the Slovak Republic in Nicosia with the presence of the SRSG and Head of the UNFICYP, Colin Stewart as the guest of honour.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.

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