Press Statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Nikos Christodoulides, following his deliberations with the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs and First Secretary of State of the United Kingdom, Mr. Dominic Raab
Nicosia, 4 February 2021
Ι am delighted to receive my good colleague and friend Dominic Raab in Nicosia.
This is the Minister’s first – of many I am certain - visit to Cyprus since 2016, and following the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union. It heralds the opening of a new, very promising chapter in the long history book of the special relationship Cyprus and the United Kingdom share. Our countries have been close partners within the EU, and I assure you that our effective rapport will continue and will be strengthened.
Your visit Dom is as important as it is timely, given that it also coincides with efforts by the UN Secretary General to resume negotiations for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus Problem for a bi-zonal bi-communal federation.
With the Secretary of State we discussed at length the diverse, long-standing partnership Cyprus and the UK enjoy, and the array of shared interests. As close partners, we also exchanged notes on issues on which we do not see eye-to-eye, and on which we will continue discussing.
The potential for advancing our relations is immense and the goal is common – to build a strategic partnership with the UK. An array of fields is open for enhanced cooperation, ranging from education, technology and business to security and defense. To this direction, we discussed ways of building on the momentum created by this visit, and mapping out concrete steps in the immediate and longer term.
As expected, and following his meeting with President Anastasiades earlier today, Dom and I discussed extensively the latest developments with regard to the Cyprus problem. Needless to say that the UK’s role – both as a result of its capacity as a contracting party to the Treaty of Establishment and the Treaty of Guarantee, as well as its capacity as a Permanent Member of the Security Council – is of critical importance.
I shared with Dom our expectation that negotiations will resume soon, from the point where they were suspended at Crans-Montana and reiterated our unequivocal commitment to this end. I specifically expressed our declared readiness to continue negotiations on the basis of the framework of the UN Secretary General, the existing convergences and the joint declaration of February 2014, while expressing the hope that the same level of commitment will be displayed by all involved.
It has to be abundantly clear that a comprehensive settlement must be in line with UN Security Council Resolutions, the UN Charter, EU law values and principles. Reunited Cyprus must be a functional state, a viable member state of the EU, a stable, reliable actor in its region. A modern European state not tied back by anachronistic systems and structures that have no place in the 21st century.
Dom and I agree that as we strive for a meaningful process, it is important to impress upon everyone involved the need to refrain from provocations that pose the risk of derailing the effort. Dominic is a scholar of international law, and very much understands the importance of upholding international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
As regards Varoshia in particular I noted the UK’s constructive stance on agreeing on a strong Presidential Statement by the Security Council last October and I repeated how regretful it is that despite international condemnation Turkey was not deterred from proceeding with the implementation of its violations within the fenced area, contrary to UNSCRs.
Concerning developments in our region, I had the opportunity to brief Dominic on the active engagement of Cyprus, in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf together with a good number of likeminded states, within the expanding framework of our trilateral cooperation platforms, aiming to foster synergies through a positive agenda. The vision is to strengthen the prospects of peace, stability and prosperity in the region.
I emphasized that this positive agenda network is diversifying to include partners with a common geopolitical vision with the aim of preparing the ground for more extended and institutionalised regional partnerships. The UK knows the region well, and we certainly see prospects for enhanced cooperation on this front as well.
Before turning the floor to you, I wish to thank you for this visit and for our excellent rapport. I look forward to continuing our deliberations over lunch.