BearingPoint project serves diplomacy

Cyrpus History

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Under a new task order, BearingPoint will work on several projects to improve the business environment for Turkish citizens living on Cyprus. The $10 million order, part of a U.S. Agency for International Development contract, is also intended to encourage Greek and Turkish Cypriots to reunite the island’s government.

BearingPoint's work under the task order will include services to boost the banking system, develop supply-chain links to increase domestic and international trade, and train small businesses on marketing and operations strategies.

The pact aims to “create a climate that will support the re-unification of the island,” according to a BearingPoint statement. Greek and Turkish Cypriots have lived apart since 1974. According to the CIA World Factbook, a Greek-sponsored attempt to seize the government that year “was met by military intervention from Turkey, which soon controlled more than a third of the island.”

Subsequent attempts to reunify Cyprus have failed. Most recently, Greek Cypriots last year turned down a United Nations-brokered settlement. Last month, Kieran Prendergast, UN undersecretary general for political affairs, advised caution in renewing talks. He told the Security Council that a “premature launch of an intensive new process would be inadvisable,” citing a wide gap in the positions of the parties involved.

Prendergast, however, also said Turkish and Greek Cypriot politicians have had cordial contacts, and other useful contacts occur other levels.

Banking practices may provide another bridge. BearingPoint plans to help Turkish Cypriot banks comply with European Union and international banking regulations, using the company’s business development and systems integration capabilities. BearingPoint officials said this project will complement other efforts to strengthen “the quality and quantity of contact between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots.”

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