“Turkey knows that it is not going to be a member of the European Union if the situation in Cyprus is not resolved. So it is absolutely in its interests for it to be resolved” said Chris Bryant MP, Minister for Europe, following a meeting with Cyprus Government Spokesman, Mr Stefanos Stefanou, at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office today.
Mr Stefanou was accompanied by the President of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK, Mr Peter Droussiotis, and the High Commissioner and Consul-General of the Republic of Cyprus in the UK, Mr Alexandros Zenon and Mr Evangelos Savva respectively.
In statements made at the end of the meeting the Minister for Europe expressed his satisfaction with the meeting, saying: “We had very good discussions this morning; we understand each other’s position and we both want to see a comprehensive solution that means that … the Cyprus problem is once and for ever resolved.”
He also mentioned that that he made it clear to Turkey’s Minister for EU Affairs and Chief EU Negotiator Egemen Bagis recently that Turkey must implement the Ankara Protocol which obliges Turkey to open its ports and airports to Cypriot traffic.
The Cyprus Government Spokesman said that the meeting included a very interesting discussion on the latest developments affecting the Cyprus problem, in which he reiterated the Cyprus Government’s commitment to the ongoing direct negotiations between Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mr Mehmet Ali Talat. He also stressed that he had related the need for Turkey to adopt a more constructive stance so that the road to a comprehensive and lasting settlement can finally open.
Mr Droussiotis said: “It was a very constructive meeting and a useful exchange with the Minister, which lasted about an hour. Speaking on behalf of our community in the UK, I was able to convey the UK Cypriots’ strong desire to see Britain exercise persistent pressure on Ankara, so that Turkey abides by its obligations to the European Union in relation to Cyprus and contributes with deeds and not merely with words to the end of the island’s division. I also emphasised the need for all parties to be guided by principles and international law when looking at the Cyprus problem.”
Following the meeting, Mr. Stefanou attended a working lunch with the Federation’s Executive, which was also attended by the Cyprus High Commissioner and the Deputy High Commissioner, Mr Dimitris Hatziargyrou.