The main British political parties, as well as a pro-Cypriot group of MPs, have reiterated their support for the reunification of the island in recent statements addressed to the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK.
The Federation asked the government, opposition and the APPG for Cyprus for their views ahead of the anticipated visit to London by the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Cyprus, Jane Hall Lute.
In a letter to the Federation President Christos Karaolis, the Minister of State for Europe Sir Alan Duncan assured of the UK’s ongoing support for a just and lasting settlement to reunite Cyprus. “We continue to believe that the internationally accepted model of a bizonal, bicommunal federation is the best way to achieve that goal,” read the minister’s letter.
“On Security and Guarantees,” continued Sir Alan, “the UK has always made clear that we are open to whatever arrangements the two sides and other Guarantor Powers can agree to meet the security needs of both Cypriot communities.”
He added that since last year’s Conference on Cyprus the British Government has urged all parties to avoid words or actions that risk escalating tensions in the region or that could have a negative impact on the prospects for resuming the talks.
“The UK has long recognised the sovereign right of the Republic of Cyprus to exploit the natural resources in its Exclusive Economic Zone and we want to see exploration go ahead,” wrote Sir Alan and assured the Federation President that the UK Government will continue to encourage all sides to work towards a resumption of talks and stands ready to discuss how they can support progress: “Reaching agreement on the remaining issues will require tough choices and compromises but with political will, we judge a settlement is still achievable.”
On behalf of the Labour Party a statement was issued to Karaolis by Fabian Hamilton, Shadow Minister for Peace and Disarmament and Khalid Mahmood, Shadow Minister for Europe: “Forty-four years after the invasion, the Labour Party continues to seek an end to the occupation, and the reunification of Cyprus. We are committed to supporting President Anastasiades & Mr Akinci, the international community and the people of Cyprus to achieve this.
A solution must be in line with UN Security Council resolutions, High level agreements, the EU acquis, as well as the Guterres framework, as articulated in Crans Montana. It must also respect the Rule of Law and the fundamental rights of all Cypriots.”
The two Labour politicians also stated that they support the re-unification of Cyprus as a bizonal, bi-communal federation that is a normal, viable state and that represents all the communities of Cyprus.
They added that as a member of the EU & Commonwealth Cyprus “does not require outdated guarantees or foreign troops.”
They also noted that a just solution should also address the crucial issue of property. and the humanitarian issue of the missing persons. They also said they felt encouraged by the recent appointment of a new UN Special Envoy Jane Holl Lute. “We urge all parties to resume negotiations, as soon as possible, from the point at which they ended and for Mr Akinci & President Anastasiades to be given the freedom to negotiate without interference, in a spirit of compromise, mutual respect and trust,” ended the statement on behalf of the Labour Party.
Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson said her party want to see the reunification of Cyprus in a bi-zonal bi-communal federation with political equity, and a federal government with a single international sovereignty and citizenship. She stated her party’s support for recognising the legitimate property claims of the Greek Cypriot population evicted in 1974, as well as for the immediate withdrawal of all foreign troops and military equipment, and the ending of restrictions governing the mobility, property and settlement of both communities within the island.
On behalf of the APPG for Cyprus, the Chairman, Sir Roger Gale MP, issued a statement to the Federation`s President, noting it “is time to bring to an end the illegal 44-year occupation of the northern part of Cyprus and reunite the island, so that all Cypriots can live and prosper together, and so that the human rights of all Cypriots are respected”.
He said he wants to “see a just and lasting solution that will ensure Cyprus is respected as an independent and sovereign country without third country guarantors or foreign troops. As an honorary citizen of Morphou, I also know how important it is for refugees from the invasion to be able to return freely to their homes and a solution must ensure that individuals are able to do so”.
“Although it is disappointing that the Crans Montana negotiations collapsed, significant progress was made during those talks, he said. Gale also said that discussions must re-commence from the point at which they ended with Akinci and President Anastasiades given the freedom to negotiate a deal between themselves. “A reunited Cyprus would be a beacon of hope and prosperity in a troubled region of world and with political courage I believe that it can be achieved”, he concluded.