UK’s EU Minister Lauds Anastasiades, Akinci Cyprus Unity Efforts

FILE - Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, (L) talks to Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

The UK Minister for Europe Alan Duncan says he was “impressed” by the Cypriot leaders’ “courage and commitment” during his recent visit to the island, the Cyprus Mail reported.

While talks between Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci have stalled and missed a self-imposed deadline – now moved to the end of the year despite a number of major unresolved issues – Duncan said they’ve made progress.

“Their leadership has enabled significant progress to be made and there is now a historic opportunity to reunite Cyprus through a just and lasting settlement. It is therefore important that they receive the support that they deserve for those efforts,” he said in a letter to Conservative MP Theresa Villiers, referring to Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci.

He said he told the two leaders during his visit that Britain, which once occupied Cyprus and still has a military base there, would do whatever it could to assist a resolution that has evaded a fleet of diplomats since an unlawful Turkish invasion in 1974.

“I can assure you, and your constituents, that we will continue to engage closely with the sides, including both leaders, with other guarantor powers, and with key partners in the international community in support of a settlement,” he said.

Villiers, who has Cypriot constituents in London, had sent a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May and to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson urging them to support the efforts toward the reunification of Cyprus.