SA to host Cyprus peace talks

SA to host Cyprus peace talks in April

Often praised for the precedent that South Africa set for its own peaceful transitioning, the country is expecting to host negotiators from Cyprus to move forward peace talks on the Mediterranean island

SA to host Cyprus peace talks


TURKISH Cypriot and Greek Cypriot negotiators are due to arrive in South Africa at the end of April to learn from the country’s reconciliation process and apply lessons back home as party of the divided island’s own ongoing peace process.

Kudret Ozersay of the Turkish delegation and Andreas Mavroyiannis from the Greek-Cypriot delegation will meet in Mzansi from April 25th to April 29th 2014 as part of a US American initiative, according to the Turkish Daily newspaper Milliyet.

Roelof Petrus Meyer, who had led negotiations for the white minority government during the transition to democracy in South Africa in the 1990s, will form part of the group invited to instruct the statesmen from the Mediterranean island nation, which has officially been at a state of war since 1974.

According to an unknown diplomatic source, Meyer might go on to serve as a Special Adviser of the UN Secretary-General for Cyprus to replace Australian diplomat Alexander Downer – if the visit to South Africa turns out to be an initial success. However, the United Nations did not comment on this prospect independently.

Meyer also served as Minister of Constitutional Development and Provincial Affairs under President Nelson Mandela and is regarded as one of the key figures in South Africa’s own transition to democracy. After a prolonged absence from politics, this might just be his ‘comeback’ moment as an international diplomat.

Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu seemed confident about the peacemaking process ahead of the upcoming trip. At a meeting in Nicosia, Cyprus, he told reporters last week:

“Today everyone in the TRNC (Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus) is talking about an agreement. We are all searching for a viable and permanent solution.”

However, that optimism was overshadowed by rumours that Eroglu was about to grant TRNC citizenship to more than 40,000 settlers in Northern Cyprus, who had previously been brought in from Turkey to deliberately alter the ethnic make-up of the island.

Greek Cypriot leaders called the latest developments “very disturbing”.

By Sertan Sanderson, 2014