The World Council of Churches (WCC) and its member churches around the world warmly welcome the resumption on 15 May 2015 of negotiations between the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci. We congratulate both leaders for their announced commitment “to work tirelessly to reach as soon as possible a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus question”, and to pursue a “shared vision for a united federal Cyprus”. The two leaders have agreed to meet at least twice a month to take this process forward.
During the meeting in Cyprus of the WCC Executive Committee on 20-26 November 2014, the leadership of the WCC had opportunities to visit both parts of the island and to hear from religious and political leaders of Cyprus, and from the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide. We learnt both of the continuing impact of conflict, displacement, occupation and division on the island and its people, and of prospects for progress towards sustainable peace and a long overdue resolution of this situation. We are greatly encouraged to see the evidence of those hopeful prospects in the resumption of talks, and in the process and confidence-building measures to which the political leaders have committed themselves.
The religious leaders of Cyprus have demonstrated their commitment to dialogue and peace, through the Religious Track of the Cyprus Peace Process, and have shown the way for the resumption of political negotiations. I thank HB Chrysostomos II, Archbishop of the Church of Cyprus and H.E Dr Talip Atalay, Mufti of Cyprus, for their personal leadership in this regard, and pray that they – together with the Armenian Orthodox, Maronite and Latin Catholic religious leadership – will be further strengthened to continue to lead the way on this pilgrimage of justice and peace.
I invite all member churches of the WCC to join me in prayer for the political leaders that they, with the support of all the religious leaders and the assistance of the United Nations, will through dialogue find a way to overcome previous antagonisms and disappointments, and shape an undivided and peaceful future for the people of Cyprus.
Olav Fykse Tveit
World Council of Churches