A Foreign Office official has reiterated the UK government’s position for a settlement of the Cyprus problem based on the model of a bizonal, bicommunal federation.
Minister of State Lord Ahmad told a House of Lords debate on Monday evening that “we continue to support a settlement based on a bizonal, bicommunal federal Cyprus because we believe it is the fairest solution and, most importantly, the one most likely to last.”
The debate was secured by Lords who are members of the APPG for the ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’, and focused on the problems that Turkish Cypriots will face following the failure of the latest reunification talks.
Lord Ahmad said it was “extremely disappointing and regrettable” that the talks did not reach a successful conclusion. But he declared the UK government’s determination to see the talks resume. “Yes, it is time to reflect, but we will continue to work with both sides to ensure that in the coming months, we continue communicating and talking with our friends on the island and across the region because it is only through discussions and negotiations and by both sides coming back to the negotiating table that we will be able to secure a brighter future for all Cypriots,” he said
Responding to questions he made it clear that “the UK does not recognise the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 550.” He added that the UK “continues to believe that a fair and just settlement is the best solution for the problems that beset the Turkish Cypriot community.”
He then commented that “for the time being, both Cypriot communities must continue to live with the sense of insecurity that division brings; But it need not be that way forever.”
With specific regard to the Turkish Cypriots, on whom the debate was focused, the Foreign Office Minister noted that “continued partition means that ties of all kinds, from trade and travel to sport and culture, are either limited or impossible.”
He also welcomed “restraint” shown by all parties since hydrocarbons exploratory work began in Cyprus’s EEZ. “Any actions that can risk escalating tensions in the region should be avoided. The focus should be on how hydrocarbons can support a settlement and be developed for the benefit of all Cypriots,” he said.
The debate was secured by Lord Sharkey and the rest of the speakers were Lord Balfe, Baroness Hussein-Ece, Lord McInnes, Lord Northbrook and Lord Collins.
They all asked the UK government to take measures in order to support the Turkish Cypriot community. Most of them said that there is no real foreseeable prospect of reunification in Cyprus and some of them urged the UK to recognise the so-called ‘TRNC’, also praising Turkey’s stance in the recent Conference on Cyprus.