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Desmond Tutu, Lakhdar Brahimi and Jimmy Carter return to Cyprus

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The Elders will make their third visit to Cyprus to meet political leaders, civil society groups and groups working towards the reunification of the island.

Three members of The Elders will visit Cyprus on 8-10 December 2009 to offer their support and encouragement to all those working for the reunification of the island.

Elders’ chair, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, will lead the delegation. He will be joined by former US President Jimmy Carter and former Algerian Foreign Minister Lakhdar Brahimi.

The Elders will meet the Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, as well as hosting a discussion on trust-building with members of civil society, business, unions, media, youth and women’s groups.

This will be the third visit to Cyprus by members of The Elders. In October 2008 Archbishop Tutu, Mr Brahimi and President Carter made their first visit to the island. On that occasion they met the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders, political party leaders, members of civil society and young people.

In September 2009 Mr Brahimi and his fellow Elder, former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Brundtland, visited Ankara, Athens and Cyprus in order to better understand the regional issues affecting the Cyprus problem. They also met groups working on reconciliation issues, media representatives and leading women from both communities.

"I am delighted to be returning to Cyprus," said Archbishop Tutu, who was unable to join Mr Brahimi and Dr Brundtland in September due to a back injury. "I look forward to seeing old friends again, and making new ones."

"We don’t want to interfere in the negotiations in any way," said Mr Brahimi, "but we hope that by demonstrating our support for a solution and by once again meeting a wide range of people, that we can be of help."

"The current situation is deceptive," said President Carter. "Life on the island looks good. But this situation is not sustainable. I hope that our visit will help to keep the leaders and the people focused on the benefits of reaching an agreement."

Further information about the Elders’ visit will be released via email and on our website as soon as their schedule is confirmed.

See blogs, photos, videos and media releases about the Elders’ visits.

 Notes to editors

  1. The Elders are an independent group of global leaders, brought together by Nelson Mandela, who offer their collective influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering, and promote the shared interests of humanity.
  2. The Elders are Martti Ahtisaari, Kofi Annan, Ela Bhatt, Lakhdar Brahimi, Gro Brundtland, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Jimmy Carter, Graça Machel, Mary Robinson and Desmond Tutu (Chair). Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi are honorary Elders.

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