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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Elders arrive to lend their moral support ]

Elders arrive to lend their moral support

THE THREE members of The Elders arrive in Cyprus today to give a boost to the flagging Cyprus talks and to encourage the leaders by lending their weighty support to the process.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former US President Jimmy Carter and former Algerian Foreign Minister Lakhdar Brahimi will today and tomorrow meet political leaders, civil society representatives and young people from the island's Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities.

The Elders are to urge the international community to embrace the fact that a lasting settlement is within reach in Cyprus, and actively to support the leaders and the peace process.

They also want to commend Christofias and Talat for their efforts to reunify the island.

But they have emphasised that they would not be involved in the negotiations.

"We are here to say that the world wants this island to find peace – we wish it with all our hearts. We encourage all Cypriots to look forward to the potential benefits that a peaceful resolution can bring. And we want to make sure that the current efforts of the Cypriot leaders to reach a lasting settlement are fully supported by the international community,” said Elders chairman Archbishop Tutu.

A written statement said The Elders were looking forward to their first meeting, which will be a discussion with young people from the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities.

"Today's young people are the ones who will live with the outcome of their leaders' work. The first time in their lives that they will cast a ballot may even be to vote on the outcome of the current peace process. I hope that day is not far off. I am all too aware of the many years it has taken to get to this point,” President Carter said.

Apart from their meeting with young people, The Elders plan to meet the leaders of the two communities, UN Special Adviser Alexander Downer and Head of the UN Mission in Cyprus, Tayé-Brook Zerihoun, political party leaders and representatives of local civil society organisations.

"The leaders, Mr Christofias and Mr Talat, should be commended for the important steps they have taken so far in their discussions to work towards a settlement. We support efforts by other members of the two communities to encourage dialogue. These are essential steps on the path to peace,” Brahimi said.

About The Elders

THE Elders' story began in a conversation between musician Peter Gabriel and businessman Richard Branson. They discussed the idea of a new gathering of world leaders – people of moral standing, independent of government or financial influence – to guide and support the 'global village'. For inspiration they looked to traditional societies where Elders are often trusted by their people to help resolve disputes and protect the interests of the entire community. Gabriel and Branson then took their idea to Nelson Mandela and Graça Machel, who were immediately enthusiastic.

On his 89th birthday in 2007, Nelson Mandela publicly announced the formation of The Elders, saying: "This group derives its strength not from political, economic or military power, but from the independence and integrity of those who are here... I believe that, with their experience and their energies, and their profound commitment to building a better world, The Elders can become a fiercely independent and robust force for good, tackling complex and intractable issues."

As globally respected leaders, The Elders offer their collective experience, and their independent voices to support the resolution of conflict, to seek new approaches to easing human suffering – and to give voice to those who struggle to be heard.

Archbishop Tutu, 77, is known for his long struggle against apartheid in South Africa. In 1994, after the end of apartheid and the election of Nelson Mandela, he was appointed as Chairman of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Jimmy Carter, 84, a democrat, served as US President from 1977 to 1981, and since then has been a champion of human rights around the world.

Lakhdar Brahimi, 74, a former Algerian ambassador, has spent 40 years helping to keep the peace across the world. Now at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, he lectures regularly in the US, Europe, Africa and the Arab world on international relations, conflict and conflict resolution.

The remainder of the 12 Elders include former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former Irish President Mary Robinson, and Ela Bhatt, lawyer and founder of India's Self-Employed Women's Association.

(Source: Cyprus Mail)

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