A Foreign Office letter addressed to five Cypriot refugees living in the UK has commended the “leadership” that President Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci have shown in efforts to reach a settlement to the Cyprus issue.

The Foreign Office official signing the letter on behalf of the Foreign Secretary states that this leadership has enabled progress in the UN-facilitated negotiations.

At the same time, it reiterates the UK Government’s encouragement to both sides “to seize the historic opportunity that now exists to end the division of the island.”

“The UK will continue to do everything it can to support the efforts of the two communities to reunite Cyprus,” the letter also affirms. It notes that the same message of support was underlined by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in his meetings with Foreign Minister Kasoulides and Mr Akinci at the UN General Assembly in New York, as well as by Minister for Europe Sir Alan Duncan during his recent visit to Cyprus.

It concludes by stating that the UK “values the deep historic ties and strong bonds of friendship with Cyprus.”

The letter, signed by an official from the Cyprus team at the Eastern Mediterranean team at the Foreign Office, has come as a response to a letter addressed to Foreign Secretary Johnson in August written by distinguished members of the UK Cypriot community that come from areas currently under Turkish occupation.

They are Doros Partasides from Larnakas tis Lapithou, Antonis Savvides from Famagusta, Andreas Tambourides from Morphou, Barry Evangeli from Leonarisos and Tasos Poyiatzis from Karavas.

In their letter they were drawing the Foreign Secretary’s attention to the fact that Cyprus has now been occupied for 42 years by the Turkish army and were urging him “to keep the Cyprus issue on top of your agenda through your foreign policy until the island is re-unified.”

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. UN-led talks have been underway since May 2015, aiming to reunify the island under a federal roof

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