The United Kingdom is “determined” to find a negotiated settlement to the long-standing Cyprus issue, the British Minister for Europe Graham Stewart told the House of Commons on Tuesday afternoon.
As he added, that was why he met with the Cypriot Foreign Minister Kasoulides in his first week in office “to settle out the UK commitment to find a just and lasting settlement.”
He was responding to a question posed by the pro-Cypriot north London Conservative MP Theresa Villiers on what recent steps the Foreign Office had taken to support a negotiated settlement to reunite Cyprus.
Villiers also asked the minister to condemn the actions by the Turkish authorities to reopen parts of the beachfront of the town of Varosha, as it is causing “great distress to the Greek Cypriots who were driven from their homes 48 years ago and have never been able to return.”
She also commented that “provocative actions like this make it harder to achieve a negotiated settlement.”
Stewart replied that the MP was “absolutely right” that the suburb of Varosha within Famagusta being fenced-off “underlines the importance” of reaching a comprehensive Cyprus settlement.
“The UK strongly opposes any destabilising actions. We support the UN Security Council resolutions covering Varosha, the latest of which calls for the immediate reversal of the Turkish course of action and all the steps taken on Varosha since October 2020,” conclude the Minister for Europe.
He also paid tribute to Theresa Villiers for “being a great champion for the reunification of Cyprus.”
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Varosha, the fenced off section of the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta, is often described as a ‘ghost town’.
UN Security Council resolution 550 (1984) considers any attempts to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible and calls for the transfer of this area to the administration of the UN. UN Security Council resolution 789 (1992) also urges that with a view to the implementation of resolution 550 (1984), the area at present under the control of the United Nations Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus be extended to include Varosha.
The Turkish Cypriot leadership announced in July 2021 a partial lifting of the military status in Varosha. A few months earlier, on October 8, 2020, the Turkish side opened part of the fenced area of Varosha, following an announcement made in Ankara on October 6. The UN Security Council called for the reversal of this course of action, while the UN Secretary General, in his latest report on his mission of good offices in Cyprus, reiterated his concern over developments in the fenced-off area, noting that the position of the UN on Varosha remains unchanged. The EU also expressed grave concern.
Source: Cyprus News Agency