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Leaders to meet Ban Ki-moon in Geneva. Polls provide key insights.

January 20, 2011
Est. Reading: 3 minutes
Photo credit: Interpeace

The Greek Cypriot leader, Dimitris Christofias, and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Dervis Eroglu, will meet in Geneva on 26 January 2011 with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Opinion polls provide latest insights into the issues on the table on Wednesday.

Today the island of Cyprus remains divided in two, with Turkish Cypriots to the north of the ‘Green Line,’ and Greek Cypriots to the south. The dividing line is a buffer zone, patrolled by United Nations troops and is impassable except at a few designated crossing points.

The defacto division of the island in 1974 continues to be the subject of intense debate on and off the island. The Cyprus issue has been addressed over the past four decades by dozens of UN Security Council resolutions and countless conflict-resolution efforts that, so far, have not been able to resolve the problem.

The situation in Cyprus, often termed as a ‘frozen conflict’, is now a major issue blocking Turkey’s membership in the European Union (EU). With Turkey’s elections coming up, pressure to find a solution is likely to come from all sides.

Political leaders from both sides recognize that a resolution could be advantageous, and so have restarted constructive negotiations.

The high level talks in Geneva on Wednesday 26th January are a key milestone in moving the peace process forward. Both leaderships have been working hard on bridging proposals where there is limited convergence. Issues of governance and power-sharing, the economy, relations with the European Union, and property are the areas currently being examined.

In partnership with the United Nations, Interpeace started the project ‘Cyprus 2015’ in 2009. ‘Cyprus 2015’ is taking an active role in finding solutions for the Cyprus conflict with a focus on research and dialogue for sustainable peace,” explained Turkish Cypriot Co-Director of the initiative, Ahmet Sözen.  He added: “Critical to generating an agreement and support for a future settlement on all areas, is ensuring awareness and full ownership of the solution  by the two communities throughout the whole island.”

Greek Cypriot Co-Director, Spyros Christou added:

“The work of ‘Cyprus 2015’ includes using island-wide public opinion polling for peace. The results from these surveys are used to inform the leaderships on both sides of the ‘Green Line’ to get a better sense of what people’s attitudes are towards the peace negotiations. The results are also fed back to both communities so they are aware of opinions across the island and the nature of the options available for a resolution.”

The latest poll shows that:

  • Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots have high desire for a settlement (68% GC, 65% TC)
  • Both sides are prepared to accept federation as a compromise settlement (79% GC, 76% TC)
  • The existing Cypriot-owned process attracts significant support from both communities (83% GC, 60% TC)
  • A mechanism of public information on the peace process is also highly desired (88% GC, 77% TC)
  • However, challenges remain in terms of high lack of trust towards the other side (84% GC, 70% TC) and concern about dominance by the other side (87% GC, 59% TC)

For more on the opinion polls

Latest opinion polls by United Nations/Interpeace initiative ‘Cyprus 2015':

Results of previous opinion polls by United Nations/Interpeace initiative ‘Cyprus 2015’

  • Full findings of the first island-wide public opinion poll by ‘Cyprus 2015’.
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