Truss, Sunak support bicommunal Cyprus

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Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, rivals for the UK Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister, expressed their commitment to a bizonal, bicommunal federation in Cyprus.

They expressed appreciation to the UK Cypriot community in letters to the Executive Chair of the “Conservative Friends of Cyprus”, Jason Charalambous.

In her letter, Liz Truss said: “As Foreign Secretary, I recognise the value that Cyprus brings as a pillar of stability in the Eastern Mediterranean and its positive engagement with countries of the region.

“I also pay tribute to the dynamism and success of the British Cypriot community, which contributes enormously to all sectors of our economy, society, and public life – and is a hugely valued part of the social fabric of this country”.

“As Prime Minister, I would seek to further expand and strengthen the close bilateral ties between the UK and Cyprus and for the UK to continue to contribute in a positive and constructive manner to the efforts to work towards a negotiated solution to reunify the island and its people within the established UN framework of a bizonal, bicommunal federation – which remains the clear position of the UK government.

“I am also clear on the need to avoid further actions that infringe international law and UN security council resolutions either in Cyprus or in the wider eastern Mediterranean.

“As Prime Minister, I would continue to support Cyprus in its efforts for reunification under international law and in helping find a peaceful and lasting solution”.

In his response, Sunak said: “First and foremost, I want to acknowledge the pain and hurt caused by the invasion of 1974.

“Many Cypriots had to flee their homes and have never been allowed to return. Others suffered the loss of loved ones, some of whom are still missing, and they deserve answers.

“All sides should engage with efforts to establish the fate of the missing people”.

“I believe that the British government should support Cypriots in their efforts to reunite their island.

“I want to see a negotiated settlement, reflecting UN resolutions and leading to a bizonal, bicommunal federal state with a single citizenship and international legal personality”.

Sunak welcomed “the willingness of the President of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, to resume negotiations, and I hope the Turkish Cypriot side will agree to this.

“I know that our government sought to progress the issue through participation in talks between the two sides in 2020 and 2021, and under my leadership, it would do so again if an appropriate opportunity arose.

“Thirdly, I believe that the Turkish Cypriot side should refrain from provocative actions that undermine trust and goodwill and thus render negotiations more difficult – for example, in the resort of Varosha and in the waters of the Exclusive Economic Zone, which the Turkish side should respect and where it should discontinue drilling activities.”

The latest round of UN-led negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana, ended inconclusively.