Representatives of the Turkish, Greek and Cypriot private sectors have agreed to set up a joint arbitration center that will deal with the resolution of commercial conflicts, giving a boost to efforts for the reunification of the divided Cypriot island.
Cypriot business leaders from the two sides of the divided Island, together with their counterparts from Turkey and Greece, made the decision when they met in Istanbul as part of the Nicosia Economic Forum to discuss cooperation opportunities that can contribute to the resolution process.
Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB) Chairman Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, his Greek counterpart, Constantine Michalos, and the chairmen of the Cypriot sides, Fikri Toros and Phisias Pilides announced the agreed decision in the final declaration of the forum.
All four parties' commerce chambers had agreed to start an initiative on establishing a cooperation mechanism and holding frequent meetings to enable closer communication.
The first forum meeting was held in June at the U.N.-controlled buffer zone in Nicosia and the next meeting will be in Athens in December, Hisarcıklıoğlu announced.
Efforts to find a solution to the problem of Cyprus which remains a divided Island have been ongoing for many years. An opportunity provided by Cyprus accession to the European Union in 2004 faltered when the Greek Cypriots voted against a proposed peace agreement. The situation on the Island has however been stable, and there are now numerous contacts between the Greek and Turkish sides of the "Green Line" which is supervised by a large United Nations peacekeeping force. Civil society has been very active in promoting a constructive dialogue with NGOs and business organisations on the forefront of numerous initiatives. Observers have praised the work of the Nicosia Economic Forum and consider it a very good example of confidence-building.
source: commonspace.eu with Hurriyet Daily News
photo: TOBB Chairman Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu (left), his Greek counterpart, Constantine Michalos (centre), and the chairmen of the Cypriot sides, Fikri Toros and Phisias Pilides announced the agreed decision in the final declaration of the forum