UK ready to help end Cyprus stalemate

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UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has assured President Nicos Anastasiades of Britain’s intention to positively contribute to an informal five-party conference the UN Secretary-General seeks to convene.

The assurances were given during a telephone conversation with Raab on Wednesday, government spokesman Kyriakos Koushos said in a written statement.

Anastasiades argued that illegal activities of Turkey both in the fenced-off town of Varoha and in the island’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) do not contribute to the creation of a constructive climate for the resumption of talks.

“Raab assured the President of the UK,s intention to positively contribute to the convening of an informal five-party conference, which the UNSG intends to convene, as well as during the continuation of the talks,” the statement added.

Cyprus negotiations will not take place during the informal five-party conference as the aim is to agree on how to proceed with the talks after they crashed three years ago at Crans-Montana.

UN chief Antonio Guterres has instructed his special advisor Lute to begin consultations with all involved parties to determine whether the preconditions are in place to convene an informal 5+1 Cyprus summit.

Last week, rival Cypriot leaders held a ‘break-the-ice’ meeting where they promised to back a United Nations-led Cyprus peace push involving Greece, Turkey, and Britain.

It was the first meeting of Anastasiades, and Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatas since the Ankara-backed hardliner was elected in the breakaway north.

There have been no official UN-sponsored Cyprus settlement negotiations since a conference in Switzerland – also involving Turkey, Britain, and Greece – collapsed in July 2017.

Britain, Greece, and Turkey are guarantor powers of the island’s sovereignty under a treaty signed by Cyprus to gain independence from British rule in 1960.