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Britain ‘sowed discord’ in Cyprus 65 years ago

file photo: russian foreign ministry spokeswoman zakharova attends a news conference in moscow
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

The British government sowed the seeds of discord between Greek and Turkish Cypriots while seeking to consolidate London’s power, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday.

The reversion to colonialism, enshrined in the Zurich London [agreements], has not been overcome in our time,” she added, speaking on the 65th anniversary of the signing of the London-Zurich agreements.

Under the agreements, Cyprus was granted independence with Greece, Turkey and the UK as guarantor powers. The treaties also allowed the guarantors to have intervention rights, something Turkey used as an excuse for the invasion in 1974.

She added that the British continue to behave “aggressively” in the region even now, ignoring international law, and using military force without the approval of the UN Security Treaty.

“All this undoubtedly undermines regional stability, fuels tension on and around the island, and does not contribute to the settlement of the highly protracted Cyprus problem,” Zakharova said.

During the decolonisation process in Cyprus, the then Soviet Union had supported the “legitimate demand of the Cypriots for independence,” she added.

“The Russian Federation, as a responsible shareholder of the international community and a permanent member of the UN Security Council, is firmly and unalterably guided by the principles according to which a compromise on the settlement of the Cyprus problem must be reached, as provided for in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, through voluntary talks between the Cypriot communities with mandatory, careful consideration of their legitimate concerns and interests.”

Independence, she added, “was from the beginning severely limited”.

“Greek and Turkish military corps were stationed on the island, Britain maintained two areas of the island as sovereign bases, a number of other installations and a whole package of privileges as the former coloniser.”

Britain has recently been in the headlines in Cyprus, for using the bases as a launch pad for strikes related to the war in Israel.

The UK High Commissioner in Cyprus has also recently been criticised for his stance on the Cyprus problem by both sides.

 

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