World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

Statement on Cyprus

21 February 2003

WCC Executive Committee, Geneva, 18-21 February, 2003

The World Council of Churches' Executive Committee, meeting from 18-21
February, 2003, in Bossey, Switzerland, acknowledges that this is a critical week
for the Cypriot people in their efforts to reunite their divided country. The WCC
has closely monitored the developments in Cyprus since the 1974 Turkish military
occupation of the island and its subsequent division. In addition to providing
humanitarian assistance to the displaced, the WCC Executive Committee
recalls its numerous public statements and actions in solidarity with the Church
of Cyprus and all religious and ethnic communities of Cyprus, reiterating always
that the WCC considers the present status quo unacceptable, as it violates the
sovereignty and unity of Cyprus, the fundamental human rights of its people and
poses threats to their security and to peace and stability in the wider region. The
WCC has always especially affirmed its strong commitment to a peaceful and just
settlement of the Cyprus Problem within UN Security Council resolutions.

The WCC Executive Committee has witnessed with encouragement the recent
developments on the political and civil society levels in Cyprus, in particular, the
increasing public, popular demand of the Turkish Cypriot community for the
reunification of the island and its entry as such into the EU, as well as the willingness
of both Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities to live together peacefully
once again. In light of this, the WCC Executive Committee wants to take
this opportunity to express its appreciation for the continued role of the United
Nations and the personal commitment of its Secretary General, Mr Kofi Annan,
for providing his good offices to resume negotiations between the Greek and
Turkish Cypriot leadership after a lengthy period of stalemate.

We especially welcome both the efforts of the UN Secretary General in providing
the Basis for Agreement on A Comprehensive Settlement of the Cyprus
Problem, of 11 November 2002, (otherwise referred to as the "Annan Plan") which
entails a blueprint for a peaceful resolution of the Cyprus problem based on UN
Security Council resolutions and the establishment of a Cypriot federation, as a
basis for negotiations, as well as the decision of the leaders of European Union,
at the Copenhagen Summit on 12-13 December, 2002, to accept Cyprus as a full
member of the Union by 2004.

Bringing about a sustainable peaceful solution to a political conflict can be a long
and arduous process, which requires the patience and goodwill of all parties concerned.

We pray that the day when all communities in Cyprus will trust one
another again and live together in harmony and peace, is now near. We pray for
the leaders of both communities, as primary actors faced with the responsibility
to find a just and durable peace, to act with wisdom and courage. The international
community, in its turn, must continue its tireless efforts to accompany the
people of Cyprus in reaching a solution that will provide all ethnic and religious
groups in Cyprus with a feeling of certainty, security and justice. At this important
juncture in the history of this island all religious communities in Cyprus
must be guided by the spirit of reconciliation and prophetic vision to live this
moment of kairos. The WCC Executive Committee in its turn wants to assure
the church and all people of Cyprus that it will continue to stand in solidarity
with them in their quest for peace, justice and prosperity.