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Tuesday, 25 March 2008


Occasionally you are in the right place at the right time. I shall never forget the moment on 23 April 2003 when the Green Line in Cyprus was opened. I just happened to be there for a meeting of the European Parliament/Cyprus House of Representatives Joint Parliamentary Committee. As darkness fell, Committee members made their way through central Nicosia to the Ledra Palace crossing to join the ever-growing crowd rejoicing under the midnight sky.

Last Friday (Good Friday in the UK but not in Orthodox Cyprus) the new President of the Republic, Dimitris Christofias, and Mehmet Ali Talat, leader of the Turkish Cypriots in the north, met to talk about how to move the Cyprus problem forward. Facilitated by the United Nations Special Representative Michael Moller, the talks appear to have been positive. It was agreed to set up a number of working groups and technical committees - the first steps towards something more concrete.

I was again in Cyprus at an historic moment, though on holiday this time. While two leaders holding talks lacks the dramatic thrill of a crossing opening after 29 years, the end result will, I hope, be a permanent settlement. I believe there is real political will this time and that success is in the air.

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