Top peace negotiators are coming to Cyprus on June 18 to meet senior political, business and civic leaders in both communities to discuss the benefits and challenges of participatory peace processes.
According to a press release, the London-based organisation Engi Conflict Management is bringing Northern Irish MP Jeffrey Donaldson (pictured above) and Roelf Meyer from South Africa, both of whom acted as chief negotiators in their respective countries.
Since polls show that only 9% of Greek Cypriots and 16% of Turkish Cypriots believing that policymakers hear their voice, Jeffrey Donaldson argues that it is time for a more inclusive peace process in Cyprus, which takes account of the opinions and priorities of the general public.
Donaldson’s own experience as a major contributor in brokering the Good Friday Agreement convinced him of the value of taking a wider approach to peace-building.
Roelf Meyer was the chief negotiator intimately involved in the negotiations on the settlement of the South African conflict wants, by coming to Cyprus, to encourage support for a more transparent process.
“Whilst you cannot profile conflict or offer template ‘solutions’, I’m hoping that the people on the island can benefit from a comparative learning approach” Meyer says.
Focusing on divided communities, the third member of the visiting team, Ljuljjeta Goranci Brkic, Director of the Nansen Dialogue Center Sarajevo, wants to broach the subject of dialogue across ethnic and national divides. The Dialogue Centre’s goal is to develop democratic practices and to prevent and resolve conflict in Sarajevo.
By bringing her own experiences to the table, Ljuljjeta Goranci Brkic hopes to encourage discussion of trust between the two communities.