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The Elders begin regional visit to support Cyprus peace process

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With negotiations between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders now entering their second phase, Lakhdar Brahimi and Gro Brundtland travel to Turkey, Greece and Cyprus to urge regional support and encouragement for the peace process in Cyprus.

  • Lakhdar Brahimi and Gro Brundtland to meet leaders in Ankara, Athens and Nicosia
  • Archbishop Desmond Tutu regrets he is unable to travel, postpones visit

A delegation from The Elders will begin a four day visit to Turkey, Greece and Cyprus today to urge regional support and encouragement for the peace process in Cyprus.

Former UN Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Brundtland are visiting the region as negotiations between the Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat enter their second phase.

Elders’ chair, Archbishop Desmond Tutu regrets that he has to cancel his participation in the visit due to a back injury which prevents him from travelling. He hopes to recover quickly and visit Cyprus before the end of the year. Speaking from his home in South Africa he said:

"I am so sorry that I am unable to join my fellow Elders in Turkey, Greece and Cyprus. I was very much looking forward to returning to Cyprus. This is a crucial time and I am praying for the leaders – Mr Christofias and Mr Talat – to maintain the courage of their convictions. The young people of the island are also very much in my thoughts and prayers. The greatest gift their leaders can give them is a secure and prosperous future in a peaceful, reunited society." – Desmond Tutu.

Mr Brahimi and Dr Brundtland will be accompanied on the visit by Elders’ CEO, Mabel van Oranje.

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 Lakhdar Brahimi is former Foreign Minister of Algeria and former UN Special Envoy to Iraq and Afghanistan. In 1989, as the Special Envoy of the Arab League Tripartite Committee to Lebanon he brokered the Taef Agreement which ended the country’s seventeen-year long civil war. Mr Brahimi has led numerous UN missions, including the UN Observer Mission that preceded the 1994 democratic elections in South Africa, resulting in Nelson Mandela’s election as President. Mr Brahimi now lectures regularly in the U.S., Europe, Africa and the Arab world on international relations, conflict and conflict resolution. He visited Cyprus with fellow Elders Desmond Tutu and Jimmy Carter in October 2008.

Gro Brundtland is a doctor by training and has been politically active all her life. In 1981 she became the youngest person and the first woman to hold the office of Prime Minister in Norway. After leaving government, her interest in the connections between health and the environment led to her appointment as chair of the World Commission on Environment and Development which is best known for developing the broad political concept of sustainable development. From 1998 to 2003 she was Director-General of the World Health Organization. In March 2007, Dr. Brundtland was appointed as Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General on Climate Change. Dr Brundtland recently joined fellow Elders on a visit to Israel and the Palestinian Territories.


Schedule and media opportunities

Photos, blogs and videos are updated daily at

ANKARA Tuesday 8 September

The Elders will meet President Abdullah Gül, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Minister of EU Affairs Egeman Bağiş, media and opinion leaders.

ATHENS Wednesday 9 September

In Athens, The Elders will meet Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, President of PASOK George Papandreou and media and opinion leaders.

NICOSIA Thursday 10 September

1400 Press statement.

Mr Brahimi and Dr Brundtland will be available for a brief photo op and statement at Chateau Status Restaurant, Nicosia.

On their first day in Cyprus the Elders will meet women leaders from the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities. They will also meet representatives from both communities who are involved in reconciliation efforts, as well as UN officials and opinion leaders. Meetings are closed to media but photos and blogs will be available on the Elders’ website.

NICOSIA Friday 11 September

09:30 Elders’ meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.

11:00 Elders’ meeting with Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias.

13:30 Elders press conference, Ledra Palace, Nicosia. The Elders will issue a statement before concluding their visit. Media are asked to present valid ID and arrive 30 minutes prior to the press conference to set up.


About The Elders

The Elders are an independent group of eminent 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. The Elders are Kofi Annan, Ela Bhatt, Lakhdar Brahimi, Gro Brundtland, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Jimmy Carter, Graça Machel, Mary Robinson, Desmond Tutu (Chair) and Muhammad Yunus. Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi are honorary Elders.

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