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Friday, September 04, 2009

The Recent Incident At The Limnitis Crossing Point

It takes two to tango

(Cyprus Weekly) - The disappointing end to a much-anticipated pilgrimage to Morphou through Limnitis has come as a painful reminder of how difficult it is to reach a comprehensive settlement on this small island.

What was intended as a symbol of how the two communities can cast aside their differences – at least temporarily and for non-political reasons -- turned into a publicity nightmare for all those prodding the two leaders to rise above decades of suspicions to work together for reunification.

For if the Turks cannot allow bus loads of candle clutching villagers to drive – under U N escort – to a church ceremony and back, how on earth are they going to agree to cede territory to Greek Cypriots and participate in a European democracy based on consensus and compromise?

The 650 or so aggrieved pilgrims subjected to meticulous scrutiny of their documents by the occupation regime were victims of much more than a lengthy inconvenience. In blocking their pilgrimage, the Turkish side had reneged on their part of an agreement to engage in confidence building measures only weeks after the Cyprus government allowed 2,000 Turkish Cypriots to travel through the same point to ‘celebrate’ the 1967 bombing of Tillyria at the Kokkina enclave.

By preventing pilgrims from exercising a simple religious freedom, Turkish Cypriots sent a wrong message to Greek Cypriots, and the global community, that at the end of the day they insist on calling all the shots.

Hardly a good start to the supposedly constructive give-and-take needed for a successful outcome to the talks.

The government says it is committed to a settlement and will persevere in the talks in pursuit of a viable solution. In so doing it speaks for a sizable majority who are prepared to turn the other cheek in the hope that the island can be reunited.

But Greek Cypriots are growing increasingly weary of the apparent insincerity coming from the other side. Supporters of peace on this island would do well to understand that it takes two to tango.

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