Statements by the Head of the Rapprochement Bureau of AKEL Elias Demetriou:
No measures have been announced by the government to support bicommunal relations
Sunday 4 February 2024, “Haravgi” newspaper
The fact that the government, in a period characterised by the absence of any negotiation procedure and the Turkish side’s unacceptable positions, has proceeded to the announcement of unilateral measures concerning Turkish Cypriots, is a step in the right direction, Elias Demetriou, head of the Rapprochement Bureau and member of the Central Committee of AKEL, pointed out to “Haravgi”.
Besides, he added, the General Secretary of AKEL had proposed such an initiative at the session of the National Council which had convened last April, subsequently proposing a series of relevant measures that were made public.
The goal of the measures, in our understanding, was to make a positive contribution both towards breaking the current deadlock surrounding the Cyprus problem, resolving current issues of concern to Turkish Cypriots and relations between the two communities in general.
The reality is that most of the measures solve part of the problems and do not provide satisfactory solutions, while others are a repetitions of decisions that have already been taken.
For example, both on the issues of granting citizenship to children of mixed marriages and on health issues, solutions could have been found that would have covered a wider range of those affected. It is also unacceptable that it is still not possible for Turkish Cypriots living in the occupied territories to open bank accounts in the free areas under the control of the Republic of Cyprus.
Another negative element is that no measures have been announced to support bi-communal relations at various levels. This also shows the difference between our philosophy and that of the government with regard to relations between the two communities. More specifically, as AKEL we had proposed, among other things, the creation of a special fund to subsidise bi-communal initiatives, as well as the cultivation of a culture of peaceful coexistence throughout the education system.
Ultimately, the government will be judged not only by the announcement of any measures, but also by their effective implementation particularly in view of some of the reactions or reservations that have been expressed. On this matter, we wont be the only ones judging these measures, but also the Turkish Cypriots, as well as the international community, which is following closely the steps of the two sides on the Cyprus problem.

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