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Britain welcomes resumption of talks

Britain on Tuesday welcomed the announcement that Cyprus talks would be resuming on Friday as a “positive development”.

British High Commissioner Damian Roderic Todd was briefed on Tuesday by President Nicos Anastasiades who met Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci on Monday night for dinner, after which the new date for talks was announced.

After the meeting, the High Commissioner told reporters:  “It is clearly very positive and the President was able to brief me on where things have got to.”

He added: “I said to the President that the UK government, me personally, all of us in the UK, we are keen to do what we can to support the process of a settlement partly because we are a P5 member [Permanent Member of the UN Security Council], partly because we are a guarantor power, but also because Britain and Cyprus have such extraordinary human connections, culturally and in human terms. We want to do everything we can to bring about a settlement of the Cyprus issue.”

Asked about whether he saw the possibility of EU involvement in the process, Todd said: “Everyone agrees that this is a process led by the UN. We are all working on the basis of an agreed framework of the UN Security Council resolutions. Mr Eide [UN Special Adviser] is working very hard and very well to bring about a settlement. The EU of course has an important role to play in support of that settlement, I know that the UK and every other member of the EU will do what they can to help and, of course, the European role matters; but it is a UN led process,” Todd added.

He said everyone agreed that the negotiations were a UN led process.

“We have a framework of the UN Security Council resolutions. Cyprus is a member of the EU as is the UK. A united Cyprus will be in the EU. Therefore the EU does have a role to play but the process is one which is led by the UN.”

Asked if a solution should be compatible with European principles and values, Todd said every country in the EU ascribes to European principles and values. “So, yes, of course. However, we need to find a settlement here to the Cyprus question led by the UN and the EU has an important role to play here.”

Invited to say whether the UK was ready to abandon its role as a guarantor power,  Todd said that was a question he would have to discuss further.

“The UK government has only just taken office, so I think I will answer your question later,” he concluded.”


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