Europe Minister reiterates UK support for Cyprus’s EEZ rights and talks

UK’s Minister for Europe, Sir Alan Duncan, has reiterated his government’s recognition of the Republic of Cyprus’s sovereign rights in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and its support for the resumption of the Cyprus issue settlement talks.

Sir Alan has provided these assurances in a letter addressed to Christos Karaolis, the President of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK, dated 20 April 2018.

The letter has come as a response to previous communications by Karaolis and members of the UK Cypriot community to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Sir Alan, asking them for the UK government to use its influence so that Turkey terminates its illegal activity in the Cypriot EEZ.

In total, at the Federation’s initiative, nearly 3,000 emails and letters by UK Cypriots were sent to the Foreign Office in the space of a couple weeks.

In his letter Sir Alan thanks Karaolis and the membership of the Federation for their letters and expresses his pleasure at meeting with a Federation delegation in February to discuss the issues raised.

The UK has long recognised the sovereign right of the Republic of Cyprus to exploit the natural resources in its EEZ, and we want to see exploration go ahead. We have therefore raised recent developments with Turkey, states the UK Minister for Europe.

We believe that Cyprus hydrocarbons should be developed for the benefit of all Cypriots, and urge all parties to look for ways by which the development of hydrocarbons can support the search for a settlement, he adds.

Referring then to the prospect of a Cyprus issue settlement, Sir Alan Duncan writes: We remain a strong support of a Cyprus settlement and continue to think that a political deal to reunite Cyprus is achievable. A reunited Cyprus would unlock significant economic benefits through increased opportunities for trade, investment and tourism”.

The UK will encourage the parties to demonstrate their renewed commitment to the process by working towards a resumption of talks in the coming months, and stands ready to discuss with the parties how we can support progress.

The UK Minister for Europe concludes by referring to the meeting he had with the Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides in London on that very same day, the 20thApril, on the sidelines of the Commonwealth summit. As he notes, he was pleased to reassure Christodoulides that British policy remained as he sets out in the letter to Karaolis.

The Federation President commented on receiving the letter by Sir Alan: Im grateful to the Minister for meeting with a delegation from the Federation in February and listening to our community on the crucial issue of Cyprus rights in its EEZ. Id also like to express my thanks to those who sent emails and letters to the FCO and made our community’s voice heard loud and clear.”

Source: Cyprus News Agency