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Cyprus Cyprus Talks

‘Stars aligned for a Cyprus solution’

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond

The stars are aligned for a Cyprus solution, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has said.

He was responding to a question in the House of Commons during the Queen’s Speech debate on Monday afternoon.
David Burrowes, a Conservative MP for Enfield Southgate in north London, the constituency with the most populous Cypriot community in the UK, asked the Foreign Secretary “what prospect he sees and what priority he holds for the reunification of Cyprus”.

Hammond said that the question was “timely” as he believes “we have not, certainly in my political lifetime, seen the stars as optimistically aligned as they are now for Cyprus.”
“We have a Turkish Cypriot community leader who is committed to a settlement, we have a Greek Cypriot President who is committed to a settlement, we have a government in Athens which is distracted with problems of its own and we have a President in Turkey who is also clearly amenable to the idea of a settlement being produced and we have an excellent UN-appointed intermediary who is making progress with talks that are going on right now,” said Hammond.

“I am hoping to visit Cyprus in the very near future and I have been discussing this issue with my Cypriot counterpart over the last few days. I think we should be optimistic, and of course the UK is fully supportive of the process of finding a lasting resolution to the situation in Cyprus; and by the way the UK has made a very big and I think generous offer that as part of a proper comprehensive settlement we will surrender a significant proportion of the land mass of the Sovereign Base Area in Cyprus to allow economic development of southern Cyprus.”

Hammond had been due to visit Cyprus at the end of March as part of a UK government’s road-show on EU reforms but the idea was nixed when there was some furore that he might visit then Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu on April 1, the 60th anniversary of the start of the EOKA struggle against British colonial rule. Hammond also became bogged down in Iran nuclear talks in Switzerland at the time.

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