CYPRUS: Nicosia seeks clear message that Brexit will not affect peace talks resumption

Nicosia wants a clear sign from Britain that Brexit negotiations will not interfere with efforts to resume stalled Cyprus peace talks.

Efforts to resume reunification talks, Brexit and other bilateral issues were discussed during a meeting in London at the Foreign Office on Tuesday between Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Cyprus Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides.

The meeting was described as preparatory to the one that will be held later this afternoon between Prime Minister Theresa May and the President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades at 10 Downing Street.

Christodoulides asked his counterpart to reconfirm the UK position on the chapter on Security and Guarantees, as publicly stated by the former Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, that London does not claim to remain a guarantor power as part of the settlement framework and that it is ready to accept any future security arrangement agreed by the two sides in Cyprus.

The Cypriot Foreign Minister also called for a public statement by the UK Government which would clarify that the Brexit process does not in my way hinder the immediate resumption of Cyprus settlement talks, as Turkey seems to be arguing.

As far as the settlement negotiations are concerned, the Cypriot side stressed that they need to resume from the point they were interrupted at Crans-Montana, in July 2017.

On the guarantees and security issue, Christodoulides made clear that the settlement framework cannot include neither any intervention rights for third countries nor the permanent presence of foreign troops on the island.

They also discussed the matter of UNFICYP, with the UK being the penholder of the relevant UN resolutions.

Hunt updated Christodoulides on the next steps the British government intends to take regarding Brexit. They then discussed the ways by which a Brexit deal could be sealed and the ‘no deal’ scenario be avoided.

The two ministers discussed the prospect of drawing a road map charting the desirable progress on these issues over two or three years, once the situation over Brexit has been settled.

In this framework it was agreed that the January 2014 agreement between the two governments for non-military development within the British bases’ areas should start being implemented in the current year.

Source: The Financial Mirror