Members of the Parliamentary Foreign and European Affairs Committee stressed the role of Cyprus as an island of stability in the region during a meeting with a delegation of the British Parliament’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for Cyprus (APPG) on Wednesday. They also stressed the need for incentivizing constructive participation in Cyprus problem negotiations, without rewarding intransigence.

Addressing APPG members, Committee Chair Harris Georgiades said that Cyprus has tried to play a constructive role in the recent Middle East crisis and has been an island of safety and stability in a turbulent region, working closely with EU partners and the international community to facilitate evacuation plans.

He added that the missing element in the regional collaboration network is Turkey and that Cyprus is the country who would benefit the most from such an event in economic and energy terms.

As regards the Cyprus problem, Georgiades said that incentives must be provided for all sides but not reward intransigence, adding that the discussion of any mutual steps should stay away from core issues regarding the basis of the solution.

In her remarks, MP and Group Chair Carol Nokes reiterated the group’s commitment to the bizonal bicommunal federation, adding that they see the appointment of the UNSG Personal Envoy for Cyprus as a first opportunity in a seven-year impasse to perhaps see some progress, stressing however that good will must be shown by both sides.

MP Sir Roger Gale said that confidence building measures could be a very useful prerequisite to a possible resolution of the Cyprus problem and condemned the creeping occupation of Varosha, adding that guaranteeing the future of Famagusta is a starting point in return for some reasonable and safeguarding confidence building measures.

AKEL MP George Loukaides said that a strong message should be sent to Turkey not to proceed with its plans in relation to Famagusta, which would destroy any perspective of the UN Personal Envoy’s efforts.

He added that AKEL is in favour of a positive agenda as regards EU-Turkey relations, energy issues and measures by the Republic of Cyprus for Turkish Cypriots as incentives for partners to proceed with cooperation in reaching a viable solution, but also counter-incentives in case of no cooperation by Turkey.

Independent MP Alexandra Attalidou said she supports the UN effort to restart negotiations and will stand by the process for a solution since she does not believe that the current situation is in the benefit on neither Greek nor Turkish Cypriots, while expressing the hope that the UK will stand by the effort to find a solution.

MP Fabian Hamilton said that he and his colleagues are resolute that there must be a bizonal bicommunal federation and condemned Turkish efforts to spread disinformation in terms of comparing the situation in Gaza with what is happening in Cyprus, while stressing the need of informing against a two-state solution and for a full reunification of Cyprus.

Independent MP Kostis Efstathiou said that the real reason of the Cyprus problem is the Turkish occupation, adding that he is not optimistic about the possibility of a solution since he believes Turkey’s geostrategic importance is superior to that of Cyprus.

Concluding the discussion, all parties agreed on the need for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza that would apply to all sides involved.

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. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres appointed María Ángela Holguín Cuéllar of Colombia as his personal envoy for Cyprus, to assume a Good Offices role on his behalf and search for common ground on the way forward in the Cyprus issue. 


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