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British High Commission sees tough choices ahead for Cyprus talks

The British High Commission in Nicosia

The British High Commission (BHC) said on Friday a settlement of the Cyprus issue would require tough choices and compromise, as it welcomed the UN decision to conduct consultations with the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities to determine whether there were grounds for the resumption of talks.

In a statement released a week after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres released his report on developments in Cyprus, the BHC said the UK was a strong supporter of a comprehensive, just, and lasting settlement of the Cyprus issue, based on the internationally accepted model of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation.

“A settlement will require tough choices and compromises,” the statement said. “But with real political will, we judge an agreement remains within reach, building on the progress made at Crans Montana, to the benefit to all Cypriots and the wider region.”

The BHC expressed hope that the sides will engage meaningfully with the UN consultations in the coming weeks and months towards that end.

In his report, the UN Secretary-General said the future of the island is a responsibility of all Cypriots, but that the leaders bear the primary responsibility for the negotiations, should they jointly agree to resume talks with the intent of agreeing on a comprehensive settlement.

“In the coming period, I intend to send a senior UN official to conduct in-depth consultations with the parties. The consultations will provide a more formal, structured, and detailed channel for the parties to convey to the UN the outcomes of their reflection since Crans-Montana and to help determine whether conditions have or have not matured at this stage for a meaningful process. I encourage the parties to recognize the importance of this exercise and to seize the opportunity accordingly,” Guterres said.

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