Cyprus Mail

After causing a ruckus, Lillie clarifies remarks

Stephen Lillie British High Commissioner

UK High Commissioner Stephen Lillie on Tuesday clarified what he said in an interview last week was trying to pick up from where Crans Montana ended is a recipe for a long and fruitless argument about where exactly it did end.

He was referring to an interview with daily Kathimerini published in Greek on Sunday, in which Lillie said the last six words of the sentence in question were left out.

“Sometimes words get ‘lost in translation’ – literally,” the British diplomat said in a tweet.

He added that what he said in the interview was “Trying to pick up from where CM ended is a recipe for a long and fruitless argument about where exactly it did end.” In the Greek version it was reported that he had said attempts to resume the procedure on the Cyprus problem from where it left off in Crans-Montana, would be a recipe for long and fruitless arguments.

Lillie, who suggested efforts should be focused on an agreement on a decentralised federation, stirred strong reactions among opposition parties but also the Turkish Cypriot side.

On Tuesday Turkish Cypriot ‘foreign minister’ Tahsin Ertugruloglu said Lillie’s remarks that a federation is the only way to reach an agreement was but a repetition of the negotiation process “that has trapped the Cyprus issue in a deadlock.”

“The language adopted by the High Commissioner portrays that the typical colonial mindset is still ongoing,” Ertugruloglu said.

“The stance of the UK on Cyprus, as one of the guarantor countries, is unacceptable,” he said.

He also said that President Nicos Anastasiades’s idea of decentralised federation demonstrates, once again, its well-known pro-Greek Cypriot policy on the Cyprus issue.

Only Turkey fulfills the duties and obligations of being a guarantor, he said, adding that Greece and the UK “are engaged with supporting and promoting the racist and bigoted Greek Cypriot policies.”

He said the repeated failures prompted the Turkish Cypriot side to put its new vision forward to reach an acceptable and sustainable agreement “based on the principle necessitating the confirmation of our inherent rights, namely sovereign equality and equal international status.

“We demand that the UK, which is one of the countries that knows the Cyprus issue very well, should embrace this reality as soon as possible and put an end to its pro-Greek Cypriot policy at the expense of the Turkish Cypriot people for the sake of guaranteeing the future of the two sovereign base areas,” Ertugruloglu said.

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