The UK Minister for Europe Leo Docherty has reiterated that London does not recognise the illegal entity in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus and that it supports the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus in its Exclusive Economic Zone.

He was asked by the DUP MP Sammy Wilson whether there has been any assessment of trade and other “benefits” of recognising the self-declared “trnc”, as he referred the illegal regime set up by Turkey in the northern part of Cyprus.

“In accordance with the rest of the international community, with the sole exception of Turkey, the UK does not recognise the self-declared ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ as an independent state. The UK recognises the Republic of Cyprus as the sovereign authority for the island of Cyprus,” said the Minister in a written answer, pointing to several UN Security Council resolutions and other multilateral agreements that “limit links between the UK and the north of Cyprus”.

As he added, “we continue to believe that a just and lasting settlement in Cyprus is the best means of resolving the difficulties caused by the division of the island.”

A second question by Wilson enquired if there is any assessment on the prospects of “cooperation between the UK, north Cyprus, the Republic of Cyprus and Turkiye on the exploitation of hydrocarbons.”

Docherty responded by restating the UK support for the Republic of Cyprus’ sovereign right to exploit any oil and gas in its internationally-agreed EEZ.

He added that Cyprus’ hydrocarbon development should be for the benefit of all Cypriots.

“We oppose any drilling in Cypriot waters that is at odds with those sovereign rights. We believe the most enduring way of resolving any tensions related to the exploitation of hydrocarbons is to achieve a Cyprus settlement. We call on all parties to redouble their efforts in pursuit of this,” concluded the ministerial answer.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.

Leave a Reply