LONDON – The National Federation of Cypriots in the UK and the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Cyprus have both written to UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab ahead of the informal five-plus-one meeting on the Cyprus issue in Geneva, Switzerland, April 27-29. The participants will be President Nicos Anastasiades, Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar, the United Kingdom, Greece, and Turkey. The UN has convened the meeting and stated that its purpose is "to determine whether common ground exists for the parties to negotiate a lasting solution to the Cyprus problem within a foreseeable horizon."
Federation calls for a federal solution in line with UN resolutions and EU law
In their letter, the Federation made its message clear, ahead of the Geneva summit, by expressing the hope that the talks will lead towards progress towards a free and reunified Cyprus. Specifically, they call on the UK Government to advocate 5 policy positions based on respect for human rights and international law:
A solution must be based on the internationally accepted model of a bi-zonal, bicommunal federation with political equality and a single sovereignty, single international personality and single citizenship – as defined by relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions and the High-Level Agreements
Substantive negotiations on the Cyprus issue must resume from the point at which they stopped in Crans Montana in 2017
A reunified Cyprus should be a functional state and a continuation of the Republic of Cyprus as the best way of protecting the established sovereignty, international personality, and independence of Cyprus, as well as its membership of international bodies
The European Union should be present at the meeting to ensure that the solution is compatible with EU law and acquis
As a modern and free country, a reunified Cyprus does not require guarantor powers or foreign troops as part of its security framework
Sir Roger Gale MP, Chair of the APPG for Cyprus, has also written to Foreign Secretary Raab regarding the upcoming meeting on Cyprus. The letter is co-signed by the APPG's cross-party leadership team: Lord Adonis (Labour), Bambos Charalambous MP (Labour), Christine Jardine MP (Liberal Democrat), Baroness Massey of Darwen (Labour), Caroline Nokes MP (Conservative), and Theresa Villiers MP (Conservative).
In their letter, the APPG for Cyprus write that Cyprus should be reunified in accordance with “the internationally accepted model of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with political equality, as defined by the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.” The letter also makes clear that “British interests in the region are best served by having a reunified, stable and truly independent Cyprus. It is therefore essential that the system of guarantees that has failed Cyprus so badly in the past is abolished.”
The letter highlights Turkey’s negative approach towards reunification efforts, pointing out recent actions on Varosha and “unlawful drilling attempts in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Republic of Cyprus.” The APPG also write that “these actions clearly demonstrate that we cannot underestimate or downplay the statements made, or intentions telegraphed, by senior Turkish officials.” Specifically, they note that in the months leading up to the five-plus-one meeting in Geneva, President Erdogan of Turkey and Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar have both publicly called for the permanent partition of the island.
The letter concludes by calling on the British Government to play a constructive role in the upcoming meeting and “stand firmly on the side of international law and UN resolutions.” The APPG for Cyprus also highlights that the UK has a duty to uphold the relevant UN Security Council resolutions as a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council.
The Federation also shared its wishes for a Happy Easter: “As we celebrate the Risen Christ, this Easter will be our second under COVID-19 restrictions and so celebrations will still be rather different to what we're used to. We urge you to follow all COVID guidelines and rules to ensure that we keep each other safe.
“Despite the unfamiliar feel, we wish you a happy and healthy Easter. The importance of Easter and its message of renewal, light and hope remains the same, especially during these unprecedented times. It reminds us that we can look forward to better days ahead after the challenges and sacrifices made during the COVID pandemic. A very Happy and Blessed Easter!”
The National Federation of Cypriots in the UK is the official, representative body and acknowledged voice of Cypriots in the UK. It was founded shortly after the illegal Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 to coordinate and represent the UK Cypriot diaspora, which now consists of 300,000 people.
More information about the Federation of Cypriots in the UK is available online: https://cypriotfederation.org.uk/.