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UK backs federal solution for Cyprus at summit

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UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the internationally accepted model for Cyprus, a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation is “a starting point” for UN-led settlement talks.

Raab made the House of Commons’ comments on Tuesday to a question by Labour MP Bambos Charalambous.

The Foreign Secretary was asked to confirm Britain’s commitment to a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation as “the only basis” for Cyprus’ political settlement ahead of next month’s UN conference in Geneva.

Raab recently visited Cyprus for contacts with President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar.

“The most important thing we need to see right now is for both sides to go to those UN 5-plus-1 talks without preconditions, so we can re-engage in the kind of flexibility and pragmatism that can see lasting and enduring peace for the whole of Cyprus.”

President Anastasiades said he would attend the UN-hosted informal meeting on 27-29 April with the breakaway Turkish Cypriots leader with “full political will” to get dormant peace talks restarted.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will host the informal meeting that will also be attended by the foreign ministers of Cyprus’ guarantor powers — Greece, Turkey, and Britain.

The last attempt at putting together a reunification deal over several days at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana in the summer of 2017 collapsed amid acrimony.

April’s meeting is overshadowed by Turkey’s perceived shift from the long-established aim of forging a federation of Greek- and Turkish-speaking zones to an agreement between two equal, sovereign states.

This month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ruled out discussing a federal system to reunify Cyprus, insisting that a two-state accord is the only solution.

Tatar has also advocated a two-state solution for Cyprus, arguing the dynamic has changed.