In a meeting believed to be the first of its kind ever convened in the history of Cyprus, a landmark meeting has taken place at the Ledra Palace in the U.N. buffer zone between Archbishop Chrysostomos leader of the Cyprus Christian Orthodox Church and Mufti Talip Atalay the leader of the Turkish Muslim faithful. Other religious leaders in attendance at the Ledra Palace venue were the leaders of the Armenian Orthodox Church and Maronite Catholic Church of Cyprus and the Reverend Kraj representing the Roman Catholic Church in Cyprus. The religious divide is not the cause of the original division of Cyprus that followed the Turkish invasion of 1974, although it has been exploited for political reasons in the past. Now however, a spokesperson from the Office of Religious Dialogue has said that this remarkable meeting gave cause for hope and the prospect of religion playing a part in promoting peace.
The religious leaders are pressing for the limitations, currently in place in regard to free access to religious sites throughout the island, to be lifted. They are supportive of the current peace initiative and talks between President Anastastiades and Mr. Alkinci that are scheduled to continue on 13th September 2015. The subject of property rights will again be on the agenda.
In addition, the president of the European Union (E.U.) Donald Tusk has pledged practical support in the promotion of peace after forty one years of division which has led to Nicosia being given the unfortunate accolade of the only divided capital city in the world. This has led to a certain amount of stagnation in the property market in the green line areas but this is giving way to renewed hope, optimism and development, making property market investment an attractive proposition ahead of the possible reunification of the island. Mr. Tusk commended the commitment of Mr. Anastasiades and Mr. Alkinci saying that the next three months will be of vital importance to the peace process.
Sources: www.i-cyprus.com, http://www.todayszaman.com.
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