After failed talks, UK says solution in Cyprus ‘within reach with flexibility, creativity’
NICOSIAA peaceful solution on the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus is within reach “with flexibility and creativity,” U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said before a visit to the island on Nov. 30.
“With further flexibility and creativity by all sides involved, we believe a solution is within reach,” said Johnson in a written statement issued by the ministry on Nov. 29.
Britain is one of the three guarantor states of Cyprus, along with Turkey and Greece.
Johnson’s visit to Cyprus comes around 10 days after the second round of intensified peace negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations in the Swiss resort town of Mont Pelerin ended without a peace deal, even though hopes were high due to extensive progress made in the past couple of months.
Johnson met Espen Barth Eide, the special adviser of the U.N. secretary-general on Cyprus, for breakfast on Nov. 30, after which Eide tweeted that it was “a very constructive breakfast meeting.”
“Pleased to be in #Cyprus at this important time to show #UK support for a just & viable settlement of the Cyprus problem,” wrote Johnson on his Twitter account following his meeting with Eide.
Johnson was scheduled on Nov. 30 to meet Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı.
Stating that he welcomed the progress made in the negotiations in recent months, Johnson said he applauded the dedication of both negotiating teams, as well as the continued determination and courageous leadership of Akıncı and Anastasiades.
“The U.K. fully supports the current settlement process and stands ready to help in any way it can in order to bring lasting peace to Cyprus,” the ministerial statement quoted Johnson as saying.
“This is a significant time in the settlement negotiations and I look forward to meeting with both leaders,” he added.
The negotiations in Mont Pelerin ended without a deal due to the thorny territories issue. Turkish Cyprus had wanted a date to be set for a five-party conference following the talks in Switzerland, during which the three guarantor states, Turkey, Greece and the U.K., would join the two communities of the island for a final settlement. But as no agreement could be reached on the territories issue no date for the five-party summit was also defined.
Speaking to the press after meetings with Anastasiades and Akıncı on Nov. 29 in Nicosia, Eide said that both of the leaders had expressed a continued desire to find a way to solve the Cyprus problem.
Akıncı said Nov. 29, that as Turkish Cyprus they aimed at a solution but “not at all costs.”
“Such a thing will not be a solution. Only its name will be ‘solution.’ We do not want anything that is more than equality, freedom and justice,” said Akıncı during a speech at the 7th Bosphorus Summit on Nov. 29 in Istanbul.
Stating that Greece had not sent a representative to the talks in Switzerland, Akıncı said they now offered to conduct the five-party summit but the Greeks also opposed it.
“We cannot bring a solution from one side. Only if they come near an honorable solution will Turkish Cyprus take its position as one of the two founding states of such a solution,” he said.
“But if they do not come near [this honorable solution] then we will continue forward as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus [the official name of the Turkish Cypriot state],” Akıncı added.