“Integrating Transport in a Reunified Cyprus” Seminar Now Open in Brussels
Brussels, Oct 15 - A seminar, entitled “Integrating transport in a reunified Cyprus,” opened in Brussels on Wednesday and provided a forum for an exchange of views among experts from the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities, the government, scientists and technocrats.
The seminar organized by the Reconstruction and Resettlement Council, under the auspices of the President of the Republic, Demetris Christofias, heard speakers outlining the importance of integration in transport to help efforts to reunite Cyprus, which has been divided since Turkish troops invaded in 1974.
“Our attention today aims at the reunification of Cyprus, a word synonymous with freedom in our country and with peace,” Council President Nikos Messaritis said in his address. “We do not want roads to facilitate the transport of the military, neither do we want facilities for emergency landings of fighter planes, nor ports to accommodate either our army or any other foreign army,” he stressed.
He said that living in a country, divided because of the presence of the Turkish military, the Council is working for the future and added that Turkey should act to end the division of Cyprus.
Addressing the seminar, Presidential Commissioner, George Iacovou stressed that the reunification of the institutions, the economy and the people of Cyprus is the primary objective for which the government is working hard. “We are also working to end foreign occupation and rid the country from illegal settlers,” he added.
The Greek Cypriot side, he noted, has accepted a bizonal, bicommunal federal solution, but at the same time it insists on full respect of the rights of the individual and fundamental freedoms in his choice of work place, residence and free movement.
“Transport and communications have an important role to play in the process of integration of the Cypriot people in the economic and the social life of the country,” he pointed out.
Cyprus as a full member state of EU is committed to the basic values such as the fundamental freedoms of the citizens and an end to restrictions on free movement of people, goods and resources, Mr. Iacovou said.
In his remarks to the meeting, Minister of Communications and Works Nikos Nicolaides said the seminar provides a very good forum for scientists and technocrats to share thoughts and ideas on a topic considered as one of the biggest challenges for the reunification of the country and its transport system.
“We need to make a big effort, plan ahead and with good will reunite our country, which remains divided for far too long. We have to overcome obstacles in our way, social, financial, structural and psychological obstacles,” he said.
The Minister pointed out that to date infrastructure projects had been designed separately and now it remains to be seen whether this planning had actually taken into consideration the prospect of reunification.
“These two systems must become one and this necessitates an overall approach, vision and determination to implement the necessary infrastructure,” he said.
He explained that the EU has European networks and policies which unify national projects in a European transport network and common criteria with regard to infrastructure and technologies have been adopted to manage the unified system.