NICOSIA, 20 June 2019 – Underlining the important partnership between the OSCE and Cyprus, OSCE PA President George Tsereteli (MP, Georgia) encouraged continued engagement in parliamentary diplomacy to tackle enduring and emerging challenges at the conclusion of a two-day visit to the Mediterranean island country.
“I applaud Cyprus’s active engagement in the OSCE’s complex agenda, which provides leadership in several key areas including the defence of human rights, and the fight against corruption,” said President Tsereteli. “Our Parliamentary Assembly provides a valuable platform for direct dialogue between Cyprus and its neighbors to maintain the Mediterranean as an area for peace and co-operation, and to prevent it from becoming a region characterized by tensions and conflicts.”
In Nicosia, the OSCE PA President met with President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades, the President of the House of Representatives Demetris Syllouris, Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides, and Minister of Finance Harris Georgiades. He also met with Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus, as well as the Ambassadors from Georgia and Slovakia. In meetings, President Tsereteli was joined by the Head of the Delegation of Cyprus to the OSCE PA, Irene Charalambides, and the Rapporteur of the OSCE PA’s Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions, Kyriakos Hadjiyianni.
Discussions focused on challenges stemming from the Mediterranean region, including the migrant and refugee crisis, terrorist threats, and the impact of climate change. Talks also broached on recent tensions between Cyprus and Turkey.
“This visit gives an opportunity for my delegation to raise issues of concern and make sure that Cyprus’s voice continues to be heard clearly in the OSCE and the international arena,” said Charalambides. “It is also the occasion to highlight our country’s distinct leadership on promoting collaborative answers to transnational challenges, such as corruption, and reaching out to partners in the southern Mediterranean and the Middle East.”
In a visit to the UN Buffer Zone and the offices of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), President Tsereteli met with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General Elizabeth Spehar to discuss the work of the United Nations in Cyprus and ongoing efforts to create the conditions for a comprehensive and durable settlement of the dispute.
“The UN has a crucially important role in the search of a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem, and the OSCE PA possesses a wealth of experience in dialogue facilitation and confidence building which it stands ready to offer through the UN,” said President Tsereteli. “There would be many benefits to closer co-operation: the combination of the UN’s global reach with the OSCE’s local know-how can only reinforce the effectiveness of our multilateral efforts to prevent and overcome conflicts.”
President Tsereteli and members of the Delegation of Cyprus also met with the Mayor-in-Exile of Famagusta, Alexis Galanos, and representatives from the Committee on Missing Persons to hear from individuals directly impacted by the partition of the island and efforts to foster intercommunal reconciliation.
“Much of my work on human rights issues has focused on the plight of civilians impacted by the conflicts that dominate the OSCE agenda, including in Ukraine, in Georgia, or the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. But human suffering is also close to home,” said Kyriakos Hadjiyianni. “As in other protracted conflicts, the persisting partition of Cyprus hinders the full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms. This compels us to continue working towards a comprehensive settlement to bridge our divisions.”
The OSCE PA President will report on his visit during the upcoming Annual Session on 4-8 July.