Speech by the Mayor of Limassol, Mr Andreas Christou, at the 13th Annual Eurasian Economic Summit
5 – 7 May 2010, Istanbul
Global Peace is a universal desire. Even though everywhere we turn we see conflict, the desire for peace is deeply rooted in the human soul. However, if we all want peace but we make war then what is the correct strategy for creating conditions that make conflict less necessary as a means to achieve human goals?
Equality has also been the dream of millions, past and living. A noble dream, quality between men and women, between people of different race, colour and religion and equality of opportunity for all young people is for from the general rule. Undoubtedly, more equality would make the world more peaceful.
The world we live in continues to be a dangerous place. It may be even getting more dangerous. Twenty years after the end of the Cold War, and even though the risk of nuclear war between the two, formerly,
antagonistic superpowers is receding, the nuclear threat is still very much with us. In fact, the nature of the threat is changing in worrying ways since weapons of mass destruction may become part of what we call asymmetric threats. A less fair world is a more unstable world.
At this point, however, I would like to welcome the recent signing by the Presidents of Russia and the United States of the new START Treaty which further reduces the levels of deployed nuclear warheads on both sides.
Looking at the world today we realize that despite the great advances of globalization, nation-states, large, powerful and populous, as well as small and less powerful ones, like Cyprus, continue to be the main actors in world politics. So any strategy for world peace starts with responsible domestic policies aimed at development, democracy, social harmony and cohesion. These principles are still the foundation stones on which global peace is built. Nations, whose actions impact more directly on others have a greater responsibility as global
In the international system I believe the main and best tool is still multi-lateralism, nations acting together to protect international security and to solve problems common to all of us, such as climate change, pandemic diseases, hunger, inequality and the challenge for more sustainable and balanced world development. Dialogue and diplomacy, instead of military confrontation, and international action by consensus are certainly the preferable option.
The regional level is also very important. Not only because many local wars usually become regional problems very quickly but also because regional-level institutions such as the European Union, the African Union, the Organisation of American States and other such organizations are becoming important tools of policy. Countries that are in danger of being directly affected by the instability in their regions are probably the ones in the best position also to know what to do in a critical situation.
We have a good example in the recent events which took place in Kirgizstan where it was obvious that a number of countries, primarily regional, were playing a positive role in containing and defusing the crisis from worsening.
Now, I would like to turn my attention to Cyprus, since I assume that it is probably the reason that I was invited. Looking at Cyprus there is certainly a series of issues which specifically concern Cypriots and they must be solved by themselves through dialogue and negotiation. These concern questions of power-sharing between the two major communities of the island, the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots, as well as other issues of governance, administrative regions, citizenship e.t.c. In the past two years there have been sustained negotiations between the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus under the Good Offices Mission of the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Even though these negotiations have not yet concluded successfully and have proven difficult, progress has been made in a number of issues, such as the system of Governance, the economy and matters arising from the participation of Cyprus in the European Union.
In the last few days there has been a change of leadership in the Turkish Cypriot community. Our hope is that the process of negotiations will continue from where it left off a few weeks ago before the Turkish Cypriot voting process.
What gives us hope that a resolution is achievable is, firstly, our belief that the Cypriots, regardless of ethnic background, can live and prosper together fully respecting each other’s interests and identity. It is also our belief that our region which includes Cyprus, Greece and Turkey can share a peaceful common future together inside the European Union and that it is possible to achieve “a zero problems” between us as neighbours, based on respect of each others sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.
A solution of the problem of Cyprus would remove a serious obstacle in Turkey’s path to the European Union, would greatly reduce tension between Greece and Turkey and bring many other benefits for all our countries in the political and economic fields.
Dear Colleagues and Friends
It is often said in relation to environmental action that we must “think globally and act locally”. Perhaps in the case of world peace it should be the other way around. We must think locally, since the cost of war and the benefits of peace make much more meaningful sense when we think about them specifically, as for example, about how they affect our families. But we must act globally since international security and peace is achievable only when we act together multi laterally for everybody’s interest rather than unilaterally for our own narrow national interest.