29 July - The Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities today set up a United Nations-backed centre where they can exchange information on matters related to thefts, murders, trafficking and other crimes on both sides of the Mediterranean island.
The 24-hour Joint Communications Room (JCR) will be run by Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot law enforcement experts, along with police officers from the UN peacekeeping mission in Cyprus, known as UNFICYP.
The JCR, which became operational in May 2009, was situated in the UN Protected Area in Nicosia. Since then, it has dealt with a total of 89 cases on various issues passed from one side to the other, most of which have been successfully completed.
Speaking at the opening of the new permanent location, Alexander Downer, the Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Cyprus, called the JCR “a very good example of the two communities in Cyprus successfully working together.”
He added that exchanges of information, in particular on crime and criminal matters, are of enormous value to the authorities.
The JCR is an initiative of the Technical Committee on Crime and Criminal Matters, one of seven specialized bodies formed as a confidence-building measure between the two communities with the support of the UN.
The committee serves as a mechanism for information sharing and joint initiatives on legal and criminal matters and is a direct result of the agreement reached between the two Cypriot leaders in March 2008 by which they set out to resume full-fledged negotiations aimed at reunifying the island.
The leaders committed themselves to working towards “a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with political equality, as defined by relevant Security Council resolutions.”
That federation would comprise a federal government with a single international personality, along with a Turkish Cypriot constituent state and a Greek Cypriot constituent state, which would be of equal status.