Rights of Britons in Cyprus and Cypriots in Britain protected under withdrawal agreement, diplomat assures

British High Commissioner in Cyprus, Stephen Lillie, said on Thursday that under UKs withdrawal agreement with the EU, the rights of Britons in Cyprus and all over the EU, as well as the rights of Cypriots in Britain are protected, and after Brexit they will continue to live and work and access public services, health services, just like they do now.

In statements after a meeting he had with Limassol Mayor, Nikos Nikolaides, and invited to say if Brexit will influence the relations between Britain and Cyprus, Lillie said: “Not at all. We are very pleased that Britain and the EU have reached an agreement on the future relationship and our departure from the European Union. That is a positive development.”

He went on to say that “we are leaving the European Union but we are not leaving Europe and we will continue to have a very strong economic and security relationship with Europe and we will continue to have very strong people to people links.”

“And that is especially true here in Cyprus. We have incredibly strong links between Britons and Cypriots, between our businesses, between our educational institutions and the new agreement will ensure that that will continue.”

To a remark by a journalist that the agreement says that nothing will change for the 11,000 people leaving in the British Bases in Cyprus, Lillie said that “what we have done with the agreement is, we have protected the rights and interests of the Cypriots who live and work in the bases and that is a good thing, their rights are protected.”

He recalled that “we have the agreement we signed in 2014 with the Republic of Cyprus to allow more economic development in the Bases and that is not affected by Brexit. Currently we are having very good discussions with the government here on how we can get on and implement that agreement,” Lillie added.

Asked about the British citizens living in Cyprus, Lillie said that “their rights will be protected”, adding that this afternoon he would be meeting with British living in Limassol and answer their questions.

Invited to comment on threats launched by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with regard to drilling in Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone involving the British flag drill ship Stena Icemax, the High Commissioner said that “our position on developments on hydrocarbons in the Cyprus EEZ is very clear. It is very well known that we support the right of Cyprus to exploit the hydrocarbons in its EEZ, and we hope all people of Cyprus will benefit from that,” he noted.

Source: Cyprus News Agency