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Cyprus wants SBA development to start this year

Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on Tuesday discussed bilateral issued, including the development of particular areas inside the British bases on the island.

The meeting on Tuesday morning was described as “preparatory” ahead of one later in the afternoon between Prime Minister Theresa May and President Nicos Anastasiades at 10 Downing Street.

On the Cyprus issue, Christodoulides asked his counterpart to reconfirm the UK position on the chapter on Security and Guarantees, as publicly stated by former foreign secretary Philip Hammond, that London does not want to remain a guarantor power as part of the settlement framework and that it is ready to accept any future security arrangement agreed by the two sides in Cyprus.

Christodoulides made clear that the settlement framework cannot include any intervention rights for third countries or the permanent presence of foreign troops on the island.

The Cypriot foreign minister also called for a public statement by the UK Government, which would clarify that the Brexit process does not in my way hinder the immediate resumption of the Cyprus issue settlement talks, as Turkey seems to be arguing.

As far as the settlement negotiations are concerned, the Cypriot side stressed that they need to resume from the point they left off at Crans Montana, in 2017. Christodoulides also conveyed to his counterpart the need to make use of what has been achieved during the recent negotiating process.

Hunt updated Christodoulides on the next steps the British government intends to take regarding Brexit. They then discussed the ways by which a Brexit deal could be sealed and the ‘no deal’ scenario be avoided.

The meeting also covered a series of bilateral issues. The two ministers discussed the prospect of drawing a roadmap charting the desirable progress on these issues over two or three years, once the situation over Brexit has been settled.

In this framework, it was agreed that the January 2014 agreement between the two governments for non-military development within the British bases’ areas should start being implemented in the current year.

Britain and Cyprus agreed in 2014 to enable the integration of a large part of bases’ territory in planning zones which will allow for property development.

The zones will be defined while the area in question includes all the private property in the bases.

Previously, property owners within the bases were only allowed to carry out housing development. Under the agreement, they can promote tourism and industry.

The agreement affects three municipalities (Ipsonas, Kato Polemidia and Dherynia) and 16 communities (Asomatos, Trachoni, Kolossi, Erimi, Sotira, Paramali, Avdimou, Akrotiri, Frenaros, Avgorou, Afheritos, Pyla, Ormidhia, Xylotympou, Xylofagou and Achna) in the districts of Limassol, Larnaca and Famagusta.

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