Sweden urges Cypriot leaders to create real peace through reunification
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt called on the leaders of Cyprus' two communities on Friday to bring "true peace" to their country by working out a long-awaited solution to reunify the divided island.
"A new window of opportunity has opened up" as Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehemt Ali Talat try to bring an end to the division through renewed peace talks, said Carl Bildt, whose country will take over the European Union presidency in the second half of 2009.
Speaking at a photo exhibition on Sweden's contribution to the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP), Bildt noted that after the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, Cyprus remains the last divided country in Europe with its capital city Nicosia also partitioned by the UN-controlled buffer zone.
Sweden was among the first western countries that sent peacekeeping contingents to Cyprus in 1964, when the UNFICYP was established to prevent further fighting between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities on the island.
The UNFICYP is one of the longest-running UN peacekeeping missions in the world.
"Peacekeeping can keep things stable, but it cannot create a peace," Bildt pointed out.
It is up to the leaders of the two communities to bring "true peace" with the help of the UN and the EU, he added.
The eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974 when the Turkish military intervened and occupied north of the island following a coup by a group of Greek officers.
After more than three decades of division and repeated failures in reunification efforts, the talks between Christofias and Talat, two left-wing and pro-settlement community leaders, have been regarded as the unique chance to bring an end to the Cyprus problem.
He should have addressed the Greek Cypriot side, they make trouble