Our only ambition is to facilitate mutual dialogue, Slovak ambassador says

The only ambition of Slovak diplomacy is to contribute to the rapprochement of both communities in Cyprus, to maintain good relations between them and to facilitate their mutual dialogue, said on Tuesday, Martin Bezak, Ambassador of the Slovak Republic, on the occasion of 34th anniversary of the bicommunal dialogue of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot political parties facilitated and organised by the Slovak diplomacy. He also expressed the conviction that this process is supportive to the peace process under the auspices of the UN. It is an important, if not the only, as he said, direct communication channel between political parties from both communities as representatives of the people of Cyprus, he noted. Bezak referred to the statements of the person who suggested this initiative, Ambassador Emil Keblusek, that he was 'shocked' by the dividing line. 'I found it incomprehensible and outrageous. It was a bleeding wound to the soul', Keblusek had said, noting that, as a small Central European country, they were convinced that their efforts would be met with understanding, because their ambition was nothing but to help, according to Bezak. The Ambassador also said that it was in the spring of 1989 when Keblusek presented the representatives of the Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot communities with a proposal to organise joint political party meetings with the first such meeting taking place 'exactly 34 years ago', on 16 May, 1989 in Prague. Both communities sent their highest political representatives, and they evaluated such meetings as useful and helpful in the process of finding a solution to the Cyprus issue, he said, adding that they agreed to continue these meetings in Nicosia. Slovak diplomacy, which has gained a reputation as a fair and responsible intermediary, organises bicommunal meetings at Ledra Palace on a monthly basis where issues relevant to both communities are discussed, he said. More than 300 such meetings have been held so far, while, on top of that, since 2007 more than 130 sessions of the so-called subcommittee, serving as a preparatory body for the main meetings at Ledra Palace, have taken place at the Home for Cooperation, he added. The Ambassador also said that the biconmmunal dialogue provides political parties the opportunity to present their views and positions on various aspects of the Cyprus problem, while 'an important moment' at the end of each discussion, which follows the Chatham House rules, is the approval of a Joint Communiqué, he added. Bezak also said that direct bicommunal dialogue of political parties is a long-term and systematic confidence-building measure sui generis, that is perhaps sometimes underestimated, and has 'even more prominent added value in the period of the absence of direct negotiations between the leaders of both communities'. According to the Ambassador, currently 18 political parties participate in the dialogue at Ledra Palace, nine from each community, and it is focused on questions, problems and challenges that burden ordinary people all over the island, while it subsequently channels meeting outputs and conclusions to political parties' headquarters and to the leaders of both communities for their further political actions. He said that, bicommunal dialogue 'is a unique case of long-term selfless assistance from one to another EU member state', noting that there is no similar example within the EU, at least to his knowledge. By facilitating and organising the bicommunal meetings of the political parties in Cyprus for more than three decades, Slovakia has proved to have no hidden agenda, he added, noting that his country does not expect any benefits from its intermediary role. 'And is ready to continue its involvement as long as necessary, until the participants of these meetings themselves would wish it', in the name of a lasting, viable and just solution into the Cyprus problem, and of a future in which all Cypriots may live in peace and harmony, he concluded. Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.

Source: Cyprus News Agency