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Labour MP says Straw was ‘ill informed’

Britain’s Labour MP Bambos Charalambous has described an article by former British foreign secretary Jack Straw calling for the island’s partition as “ill-informed” and not representing that of the party, as he urged all parties to work towards reunification.

“I was not surprised to read Jack Straw’s latest ill-informed article about partitioning Cyprus,” Charalambous, the first British MP of full Cypriot descent said in a written statement. “He rues the fact that Cyprus joined the European Union seeming to forget that he was foreign secretary at the time.”

Charalambous said Straw’s view did not represent that of the Labour party, which has pledged in its manifesto to support those countries working towards ending the island’s division.

“We should all be working towards a unified Cyprus with equal respect and regard for the rights of all the citizens of united Cyprus,” he said.

In an article in the Independent on Sunday, Straw argued that a negotiated solution to the Cyprus problem through the creation of a bizonal, bicommunal federation is impossible due to Greek Cypriot intransigence and the only viable alternative was a two-state solution.

The former minister said July’s international conference on Cyprus in Crans Montana ended in failure because it “was rejected by the Greek-Cypriot government – as every previous one has been”.

“It is time to end the charade that a negotiated agreement to unite the island with a ‘bizonal, bicommunal’ government will even be possible,” Straw wrote.

It is time, Straw argued, for the international community to acknowledge this reality and recognise the partition of the island.

“That would be far more likely to improve relations between the two communities than continuing the useless merry-go-round of further negotiations for a settlement that never can be,” he said.

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