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Academics ask why women have not been included in Geneva talks

Two female academics have launched a petition calling for female participation in the upcoming informal five party meeting on the Cyprus problem in Geneva.

In a signed letter to President Nicos Anastasiades accompanying the petition published on, associate professors at the University of Cyprus Alexia Panayiotou and Maria Hadjipavlou demand to know how many and the identity of the women and men participating in the 5+1 informal meeting in Geneva.

Security “also concerns the women of Cyprus, especially human security through the feminist perspective,” the two wrote.

“The participation of women with relevant expertise in the various stages of the negotiations is a democratic right and an obligation under UN Security Council Resolution 1325 of 2000,” the petition reads.

The informal meeting will be held on April 27 to 29 and party political leaders are also attending. They are all male apart from Eleni Theocharous of Solidarity.

Government spokesman Kyriacos Koushos, Interior Minister Nicos Nouris and the director of the President’s Diplomatic Office Pantelis Pantelides are also expected to be at the meeting.

The government’s negotiating team is chaired by negotiator Andreas Mavrogiannis, attorney-general George Savvidis, the former Disy MP Panagiotis Dimitriou, head of the Cyprus problem office of Akel Kipros Toumazos Tselepis, former Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulidis, lawyer Costas Paraskevas and former foreign ministry director Tasos Tzionis, UCY academics Aris Konstantinidis and Konstantinos Kompos and the lawyer and professor Achilleas Emilianidis. The only woman is Emilianides’ close associate and academic Christina Ioannou.

Former foreign minister and member of the Cyprus negotiating team since 2016 Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis was left out of the negotiating process when Anastasiades formed his new team this year.

Marcoullis expressed her disappointment as she was not officially informed by the palace that she would not be part of the process going forward and questioned the timing of the changes “at a time when everything is headed towards the derailment of the Cyprus problem”.

So far, 245 people signed the petition. The list of names of those who co-sign will be published in the media and on social media.

Alexia Panayiotou is an associate professor at the Department of Business and Public Administration of the University of Cyprus and Maria Hadjipavlou is an associate professor at the department of social and political sciences at the university of Cyprus and author of the Women and Change in Cyprus: Feminisms and Gender in Conflict book.

To sign the petition



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