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UK repeats offer to cede bases’ territory to help solution

The United Kingdom is prepared to cede part of the Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus, in order to contribute to a positive outcome of talks to reunify the island, British ambassador to Turkey Richard Moore told Turkish daily Hurriyet on Saturday.

Formally and legally, Moore said, the bases are not part of the Cyprus settlement process because they are under British sovereignty.

The offer to give up some of the bases’ territory had previously been made in the lead up to the 2004 referendum on the UN-brokered Annan plan

“We will be ready to do what we can again in helping with some territory, so we would probably give some territory from our sovereign base areas that would help when there are small percentages being calculated,” Moore said.

In the same interview, British High Commissioner to Cyprus Matthew Kidd confirmed Britain’s Annan-plan offer was still on the table.

“We have reconfirmed that we would do the same,” Kidd said.

The two diplomats were in Ankara for discussions with Turkish officials ahead of the international Conference on Cyprus, scheduled for June 28 in Switzerland.

The United Kingdom can help by being in touch with all parties, Kidd told Hurriyet.

“We can sometimes help to ensure that there is proper understanding of how others are approaching moments like Geneva. There is always a risk that they may misinterpret each other’s signals,” he said.

“This time there is a sort of a shared recognition that security has got to work for both sides, and that any model which delivers reassurance to the security of one side but at the expense of leaving the other feeling less secure is not the answer.”

The two leaders, President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, have moved the process along farther than ever before, according to Kidd.

“They have done more difficult stuff than their predecessors,” he said

“The discussions that they were able to have on the territory issue, for instance, required a level of trust between them that probably none of their predecessors would have had. It helps that they are the same age, they were born in the same city. They both see themselves as offering their generation the last chance to do this.”

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