The UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson will fly to Switzerland later today to support the UN facilitated talks aimed at reaching a settlement to the long running Cyprus issue.
The Conference on Cyprus will reconvene in the Swiss resort of Crans Montana with the participation of the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, and representatives of the Guarantor Powers (Greece, Turkey and UK).
Johnson’s attendance demonstrates the UK’s “ongoing support and commitment to the settlement process”, notes a statement by the Foreign Office. He will be accompanied by the Minister for Europe, Sir Alan Duncan.
The Foreign Office statement adds that the UK is contributing to a settlement in a number of ways, including as one of the most significant contributors to the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus, through the offer to cede almost half of the land of the UK Sovereign Base Areas to a united Cyprus and through practical assistance to help the two sides prepare for a settlement.
On arrival in Switzerland, the British Foreign Secretary is due to hold a series of meetings with the parties present and attend the launch of the Conference.
Johnson is expected to encourage all those present to “keep the goal in sight” noting that “the status quo carries risks, while only change will realise the opportunities of a united Cyprus”.
He will also point to the “opportunity to move beyond the past and stake out a new future”.
The UK Foreign Secretary will acknowledge that reaching an agreement will require difficult political decisions from all parties and that flexibility and compromise will be essential in order to reach a deal.
Ahead of the talks, Boris Johnson said: “This Conference builds on months of hard work, commitment and progress shown by both sides. It’s an exceptional opportunity for both communities to find a lasting solution for Cyprus, which will bring huge benefits to the whole island and the region. It will not be easy, but with political will, creativity and flexibility, I believe that a deal can be done. The UK is ready and willing to help in any way we can.”