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Cyprus religious representatives meet
2007-02-22 12:09:18

Nicosia, Feb 21 - The religious representatives of Cyprus held a historic meeting pledging to help improve relations between the Greek and Turkish communities.

Greek Orthodox Archbishop Chrysostomos II and Turkish Cypriot Mufti Ahmet Yonluer met at the disused Ledra Palace hotel, in the U.N.-controlled buffer zone that divides the island's capital since an invasion by Turkey in 1974.

"I am happy to be here today so that we can both work for the benefit of our country and the good of our people," Archbishop Chrysostomos II told reporters.

"In Cyprus we never had a religious problem and we will not have any in the future," he added.

The clerics met at the invitation of Mr. Rene van der Linden, Chairman of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly who was visiting Cyprus.

According to a joint statement after the meeting, the two leaders were delighted to meet for the first time and discussed ways that could contribute to the creation of an atmosphere of trust and tolerance to set an example to the people and politicians of Cyprus.

As a first step, the statement also said, they agreed to work towards the goal of enabling worship at the Hala Sultan Tekke Mosque in Larnaca and the Apostolos Andreas Monastery in the Turkish-occupied Karpass peninsula.

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