Youth organisations reaffirm commitment to united Cyprus
Nicosia, Feb 19 (CNA) - Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot youth organisations have addressed a petition to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, with which they ''reaffirm their commitment to a peaceful and united Cyprus based on a federal solution, to accede to the EU on May 1''.
In their petition, which they handed to a UN official this morning before the resumption of peace talks in Nicosia, the organisations say they ''remain focused on the efforts of the UN to achieve a solution through negotiations on the basis of the Annan plan'', noting that ''such a settlement must provide for a bizonal, bicommunal federation with a single sovereignty and one international personality''.
''The solution must respect the basic human rights, the fundamental freedoms and civil liberties of all Cypriots and observe the principle of political equality of both communities'', they add.
The petition is signed by the youth organisations of Greek Cypriot leftwing AKEL, EDON, and rightwing Democratic Rally, NEDISI, and Turkish Cypriot Republican Turkish Party, Communal Liberation Party, Solution and EU Party, Patriotic Unity Movement, United Cyprus Party and Cyprus Socialist Party.
In statements to the press, EDON General Secretary George Loucaides said ''it is important that we request that a solution be found during the first stage of these negotiations, so that no intervention of third parties is needed''.
Urun Soyali from the Republican Turkish Party youth branch told reporters that after a long period of waiting, negotiations begin at last today, with a view to reach a settlement and end the division of the island.
In their petition the youth organisations welcome the decision to resume negotiations on the basis of the Annan plan and ''expect the EU and the international community as a whole to act on their level to best facilitate and support the efforts of the UN''.
They add that the partial lifting by the occupation regime of restrictions on the free movement of citizens to and from the Turkish occupied areas and the subsequent interaction between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots has ''provided the most concrete evidence of the strong will for peace and reunification that exists among ordinary people'' but note that it ''cannot under any circumstances be a substitute for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem''.
The organisations point out that ''the progressive and peace forces in both communities, despite the setbacks, have the historical task to enforce the common struggle for the reunification of our island'', and call on the people of Cyprus ''to join us in the struggle to promote peace and rapprochement''.