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Interim solution for British bases in case of hard Brexit

Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides on Thursday said that in the event the UK leaves the EU without an agreement, an interim solution would be applied for the British bases (SBA) on the island.

He said that the issue was one, among others, chosen by the EU for interim solutions to be applied in case of a hard Brexit.

Speaking to the press after a cabinet meeting the minister said he had the chance to brief the council of ministers on the latest developments regarding Brexit, adding that all scenarios were likely and that preparation that started in October 2017 for a hard Brexit had now been intensified.

He said Cyprus was in constant contact with Brussels, and depending on the results of the talks between the EU and the UK, “we are ready to manage the situation”.
Christodoulides also said that this preparation was taking place in cooperation with other member states, but also with the EU itself.

He said that Cyprus favours a Brexit with an agreement, however the EU and all the member states were getting ready for a hard Brexit.

The 585-page Withdrawal Agreement, voted down by the UK parliament on Monday, which was negotiated by May and the EU text was to provide the basis of a legally binding treaty and covered the future rights of EU citizens living in the UK and UK nationals in the EU, and protocols on Gibraltar and UK sovereign base areas in Cyprus where 11,000 Cypriots live and work.

“The issue of the SBA was within the terms of reference of the deal with Britain,” said Christodoulides. “That the negotiations were between the EU, including the Republic of Cyprus, and the British side and we ended up in this text, which has been agreed. In case there is no withdrawal agreement this text will not have any effect.”

Christodoulides said that in the context of the discussions taking place, the aim, “which we consider achievable”, remains securing the rights of all Cypriots who reside and work in the British bases so they won’t be affected.

The British bases was one of the issues that was high on the agenda of the European Commission, he added.

Asked if there should be a bilateral dialogue between Cyprus and the UK, Christodoulides said: “If there is no withdrawal agreement, the EU and Britain would adopt a temporary arrangement… it would not be final settlement… until there is an agreement.”

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