The UK remains committed to supporting the UN process to reach a Cyprus Settlement, which will increase the prosperity of Cyprus and strengthen the security and stability of the region.
In line with this, HM Government (HMG) continues to advocate a solution in line with UN parameters based on the model of a Bi-zonal, Bi-communal Federation with political equality – a model that is internationally accepted and which the UK considers broad enough to address the concerns of both sides. This commitment was reaffirmed by Foreign Secretary James Cleverly when he met the former Cypriot Foreign Minister, Kasoulides, in November 2022. HMG regularly engages at all levels with the parties to the settlement talks, and continues to encourage all parties to engage constructively and demonstrate their commitment to making progress.
The UK also contributes to the UN settlement process through our deployment of military personnel to the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus. Furthermore, in January 2023, the UK led the drafting of the UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution to renew the mandate of the Peacekeeping Force, which was unanimously adopted by the UNSC, maintaining the Council’s longstanding unity on Cyprus.
Ultimately, it is a matter for both sides to agree on the details of any final settlement deal. This will require the agreement of the two leaders, the support of Greece and Turkey and, importantly, successful referenda in each community. On Security and Guarantees, the UK has always made clear that we are open to whatever arrangements the two sides and other guarantor powers can agree to meet the security needs of the two Cypriot communities.
I am assured that the UK, as a guarantor power, will continue to do all it can to facilitate renewed and comprehensive negotiations.
The UK has also been clear in calling for all sides to avoid any actions or statements that could damage the prospects of a Settlement. On the issue of Varosha specifically, the UK continues to fully support UNSC Resolutions 550 (1984) and 789 (1992). The UK issued a National Statement expressing concern and strongly supported the 23 July UNSC Presidential Statement which condemned the announcement made during the visit of President Erdogan to Cyprus in July 2021. The issue of Varosha further underlines the importance of reaching a comprehensive Cyprus Settlement.
The UK has consistently stated support for the sovereign right of the Republic of Cyprus to exploit the oil and gas in its internationally agreed Exclusive Economic Zone, which should be developed for the benefit of all Cypriots. The most enduring way of resolving difficult issues such as this is to achieve a Cyprus settlement. The sanctions regime established by the Unauthorised Drilling Activities in the Eastern Mediterranean (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 (“the 2020 Regulations”) seeks to address unauthorised drilling activity in the Eastern Mediterranean. HMG’s assessment is that, despite positive developments since the Regulations were laid, the risk regarding unauthorised drilling activity in the Eastern Mediterranean persists.
Unfortunately, I am unable to attend the APPG for Cyprus’ Parliamentary event on 18 July 2023, but I will continue to follow developments regarding the situation in Cyprus closely.