From the 18th to 20th September 2013, civic, business and political figures from across the spectrum in Cyprus gathered in Malta to discuss the following question:
“How can an inclusive approach help the Cyprus Peace Process”?
Participants included leading politicians, business leaders, trade-union leaders, NGOs and other high level policymakers. They were introduced to examples of other peace processes around the World, including South Africa, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Northern Ireland.
On the first day, business leaders met and discussed the necessity for an open, public debate about the benefits of a settlement to the Cyprus Question. They highlighted the need for creating new opportunities for business cooperation across the Green Line in order to demonstrate the benefits of reconciliation.
On the second day the dialogue included leading peacemakers Jeffrey Donaldson, Danny Morrison (Northern Ireland), Roelf Meyer, Mohammed Bhabha, Ivor Jenkins (South Africa), Ljuljjetta Goranci Brkić and Ismeta Dervoz (Bosnia-Herzegovina) participated in the event.
Roelf Meyer, who acted as the chief government negotiator in South Africa in the 1990s, opened the discussion. He told recalled that the negotiations took place with an understanding that: “what’s important is what we want from the future and not what we want to protect from the past”.
He also presented some thoughts grounded in the South African experience, but which could possibly have relevance to Cyprus:
1- The necessity to develop a new mind set to ensure the obstacles of the past are overcome.
2- The importance of developing a negotiating process that is transparent, open, and based on a solid communication strategy, which ensures the support of the wider public.
3- Building confidence across the divide and mobilising public opinion towards the need for change.
The workshop in Malta is part of the “Participatory Peacemaking Initiative supported by UNDP-ACT and ENGI.