As the informal meeting on Cyprus gets underway in Geneva today, the Federation, Labour Party and Theresa Villiers MP have outlined their hopes for progress towards reunification.

The Federation published an agenda for the meeting that would help achieve the required progress:

  • Turkey must drop its pursuit of partition
  • A solution must be based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with political equality, as outlined in UN Security Council resolutions
  • Negotiations 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 a modern and free country, a reunified Cyprus does not require guarantor powers or foreign troops as part of its security framework

Labour sets out three tests for the UK Government in Geneva

The Labour Party has set out three tests for the UK Governments ahead of the talks. They say that, “to ensure a lasting and just settlement for the island of Cyprus, the UK Government must:

  1. Make clear its support for a bi-zonal, bi-communal federal political settlement with political equality, in line with its historic obligations as a guarantor power and in line with existing UN Resolutions.
  2. Call on the Turkish Government to begin a phased withdrawal of all military personnel from the island of Cyprus, including the resort of Varosha, and end all drilling in the Republic of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone.
  3. Ensure international law is upheld throughout the negotiations and not support any political settlement that undermines the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus.”

In addition, Fabian Hamilton MP, Shadow Minister for Peace and Disarmament, commented:

“These talks are a crucial opportunity to make progress towards a political settlement for the island of Cyprus. As a guarantor power with historic legal commitments to Cyprus, the UK Government has a responsibility to take them seriously.

“It’s vital that the UK Government sticks to its longstanding obligations to the people of Cyprus to ensure both sides can come to a lasting and meaningful political settlement, which is in the interests of regional stability.”

Theresa Villiers MP hopes for progress at five plus one talks on Cyprus

Theresa Villiers, MP for Chipping Barnet and President of Conservative Friends of Cyprus, has also expressed her hopes for for progress at the 5+UN meeting in Geneva this week. 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 bi-zonal, bi-communal, 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.”