“We come to Cyprus at what could be a historic period for the ongoing process of talks on the reconciliation of the island and its people,” said PACE President Pedro Agramunt, addressing the PACE Standing Committee in Nicosia today. In this context, he underlined that “the Assembly fully supports President Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci in their efforts to reach a solution to a conflict that has run for 42 years.”
“Cyprus is taking over the Council of Europe Chairmanship at a crucial moment, when Europe has to face major challenges, including terrorism, the refugee crisis, the rise of populist and extremist rhetoric, as well as ‘frozen’ and active conflicts,” he continued. In this respect, he stressed that the overarching theme of the Cypriot Chairmanship – “Reinforcing democratic security in Europe” – was timely and appropriate, and “a joint endeavor by all European states and actors", was essential.
In addition, he welcomed several initiatives in the context of the Chairmanship, including the promotion of equal rights for persons with disabilities, combating discrimination against LGBTI people, and the drafting of a new Convention on Offenses related to Cultural Property. Mr Agramunt also mentioned a planned Ministerial Conference on “Securing Democracy through Education”, a Conference on “Social rights in today’s Europe: the role of domestic and European Courts”, and a Youth Peace Camp on “The role of young people and youth policy in peace-building and intercultural dialogue”.
He also expressed his support to the consultation process Cyprus intends to launch, in co-operation with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, concerning the proposal to hold a 4th Summit of the Council of Europe Heads of State and Government.
Finally, PACE President announced the visit to Strasbourg by the President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades, who will address the Assembly on 24 January 2017.