Cyprus House President receives Commonwealth SG

The Cyprus issue, relations with the Commonwealth and the role of women were discussed in a meeting President of the House of Representatives Annita Demetriou held Monday with the Secretary General of the Commonwealth Patricia Scotland, who is paying Cyprus her first official visit. According to an announcement issued by the Parliament, Demetriou referred to the active participation of the House of Representatives in the activities of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, based on the principles and values of the Commonwealth, which, as she said, are a compass in the extremely difficult times we are going through. Scotland praised the dedication and commitment of Cyprus to the principles and values of the Commonwealth and the very essential role our country plays in the Organization. She made special mention of Cyprus' contribution to the drafting of the Commonwealth's Blue Charter and the initiative it took to host the First Ministerial Meeting on the Oceans of the Commonwealth Member States, on Apr il 18 and 19. Referring to the Cyprus problem, the House President reaffirmed our side's commitment for a just and sustainable solution, on the basis of a bizonal bicommunal federation, in accordance with international law and UN Security Council resolutions. She pointed out that the ongoing war in Ukraine and the situation in the Middle East, as well as the increasing Turkish provocations against Cyprus, demonstrate that there are no frozen conflicts. She also referred to the increased migration flows to Cyprus, a front-line country, as a result of the situation in the Middle East. Demetriou also underlined the need for collective action and leadership to restore citizens' trust and sense of security in institutions and to counter the rise of populism and extreme ideologies. She referred to the role of female political leaders for a more effective response to current challenges and the need to protect women politicians from the disproportionate approach in social media, as a result of fake news and hate speech. Joint initiatives and actions with the aim to strengthen the relations between the Cyprus Parliament and Commonwealth were also discussed. Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres appointed María Ángela Holguín Cuéllar of Colombia as his personal envoy for Cyprus, to assume a Good Offices role on his behalf and search for common ground on the way forward in the Cyprus issue. Source: Cyprus News Agency