Theresa Villiers, MP for Chipping Barnet and President of Conservative Friends of Cyprus, has received assurances from the UK Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, that he will attend the ‘five plus one’ informal talks on Cyprus in Geneva this week. These talks include the two sides in Cyprus and representatives from Greece, Turkey and the UK, as the three guarantor powers. The meeting is being hosted by the UN with a view to establishing whether there is sufficient common ground for formal negotiations to start again to try to reach a settlement in Cyprus.
Speaking on the eve of the summit, Theresa Villiers said “I wish all the leaders well in their discussions this week. I hope that the meeting will provide new hope for a negotiated settlement and reunification of Cyprus.”
“Any settlement must be based on longstanding accepted principles, namely a bizonal, bicommunal, federal state, with a single citizenship and a single international personality. Any attempt to formulate a looser confederal arrangement would see permanent division of the island and would never be acceptable.”
“Third country guarantees should also be scrapped. These date back to the colonial era and are entirely inappropriate for a modern European democracy like Cyprus. The Foreign Secretary should call on his counterpart in Turkey to withdraw any claim to a continuing guarantee, or any right to take military intervention.”
“I welcome the assurance that Dominic Raab has given me that he plans to attend the Geneva talks. When he was Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson took part in the discussions at Crans Montana. Only Cypriots can provide the solution to reunite their island; but I will always urge UK Ministers to provide every support and encouragement to the two sides, in their efforts to resolve this dispute and reach an agreement.”
Theresa has received the following answers from Europe Minister, Wendy Morton, to her recent urgent Parliamentary Questions on the Geneva talks:
1. To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he plans to attend the informal talks sponsored by the UN Secretary General on Cyprus in Geneva from 27 to 29 April 2021.
2. To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterpart in Government of the Republic of Cyprus on the informal talks sponsored by the UN Secretary General on Cyprus in Geneva from 27 to 29 April 2021.
Answer: Wendy Morton:
A Cyprus Settlement is in the best interests of the Cypriot communities, the wider region and the UK. The Foreign Secretary will represent the UK as a Guarantor Power at the UN-led informal five-party talks from 27-29 April. The aim of the meeting - as set out by the UN Secretary General - is to determine whether common ground exists for the parties to negotiate a lasting solution to the Cyprus problem within a foreseeable timeframe. The UK will continue to actively support the UNSG in his effort to this end.
The Foreign Secretary spoke to the Cypriot FM on 22 March and the Turkish Foreign Minister on 23 March. The Foreign Secretary visited the island on 4 February and met President Anastasiades, Turkish Cypriot leader Tatar and the UN. The Foreign Secretary also met the Greek Foreign Minister on 2 February. The UK is urging all sides to approach the UN talks in a spirit of flexibility and compromise. During my visit to Cyprus (7-9 April), I reiterated this message and the UK's support for a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Cyprus issue.