SASG Eide speaks on hope & opportunity in Cyprus
NICOSIA, 24 March 2016 - The first 2016 gathering of the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation took place on 24 March, with Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide, giving the keynote speech for the second year running.
Speaking under the broad theme of hope and opportunity, Mr. Eide noted that there had been nine months of continuous progress in the talks, with the island’s two leaders, Mr. Nicos Anastasiades and Mr. Mustafa Akıncı displaying consistent commitment to solving the Cyprus problem. Since May 2015, the leaders have had 25 formal meetings, while their negotiators have held 95 formal meetings.
Mr. Eide noted that the leaders were in agreement that that they did do not want to lose time, but wished to ensure that they used then time available to produce a settlement that would not only achieve “two yeses” at a referendum, but one that would work for Cyprus. He noted that the goal of the talks was a bizonal, bicommunal federation with full respect of the principles on which the EU is built; Cyprus , he said, is negotiating a genuine federation that is desired by the current political leadership on both sides of the island.
He further stressed that rather than discussing the cost of a solution, discussions should focus on the opportunities that a settlement presented for trade, employment and the overall economy on the island. He urged members of civil society to investigate and identify their role in preparing for a potential new reality on the island.
The Stelios Philanthropic Foundation, established by EasyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, aims to build support for business relationships between the island's Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities and encourage applications for the prestigious Stelios Bi-Communal awards in Cyprus. As of 2015, the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation had given away €1.2 million to 40 bi-communal teams.