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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 09-11-11

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Cyprus President Demetris Christofias has stated that "we noted positively the offer made by Britain to the United Nations, concerning part of the territory of the British Bases" to a unified Cyprus, in the event of a solution to the Cyprus problem. In a statement after meeting Wednesday British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in London, President Christofias said he expects that "the United Kingdom will assist towards a viable and functional solution to the Cyprus problem, based on the provisions of the Memorandum of Understanding" signed by Christofias and Brown on 5 June 2008.

    The Cypriot leader said the Memorandum was wide-ranging and set the tone for the relations between the two countries. "The agreed provisions are constructive towards the improvement of the relations between the two countries. We reconfirmed the content of this Memorandum of Understanding", he continued. President Christofias said he briefed the British Premier about the intercommunal talks under the good offices mission of the UN Secretary-General. He said he informed Gordon Brown about some progress achieved in his talks with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat on the issues of governance and EU matters.

    "It is with deep regret that we had to note that in the area of the economy, in spite of early promises, the progress has been minimal as the Turkish Cypriots have reneged on earlier commitments. I was sorry to have briefed the Prime Minister that no progress, whatsoever, has been recorded in the fields of property, security, territory and the settlers` issue", the Cypriot President added.

    President Christofias said that Turkey claims publicly that it supports the UN process while it pretends to lament the fact that no solution will be reached by the end of the year. "I consider Turkey to be responsible for the lack of sufficient progress. At the same time, Turkey has failed to implement its commitments towards the EU regarding the Ankara Protocol. Time is running out for Turkey on this issue", he added.

    President Christofias underlined that Turkeys help is needed in order to push Mehmet Ali Talat in the direction of achieving progress that would benefit both communities in Cyprus and put an end to this tragedy. The Cypriot President expressed satisfaction "with the level of interest and understanding we have found at 10 Downing Street and I thank the Prime Minister for that".

    According to a written statement issued by the British Prime Ministers office, Brown noted that this is a critical time for a settlement. It said that President Christofias has shown enormous courage and determination in progressing discussions, adding that both leaders in Cyprus are fully committed to finding a solution. Brown urged President Christofias to exploit this unique opportunity and move to resolve the issue to the benefit of all Cypritos, it added.

    It is important that the solution to the Cyprus problem is a Cypriot one, a solution by the Cypriots for Cypriots, Brown pointed out. The British Premier confirmed that an offer has been made to the UN to make available just under 50% of the territory of the UKs Sovereign Base Areas to a unified Cyprus in the event of a solution. It will be up to the two leaders to negotiate what happens with this land", he stressed adding that the British Bases would be able to function as normal within a reduced land area.

    Today, my message to Cyprus leaders and to their people is: you can make history. Be bold, be courageous. The UK will support you, Gordon Brown said.

    London has renewed an offer to the United Nations «to cede a portion of its territory in the Sovereign Base Areas (SBAs) to a reunified Cyprus».

    The land that would be ceded amounts to 45 square miles, just under half the total land area of the SBAs.

    ``The offer, identical to one made in 2003, is conditional on a comprehensive settlement being agreed by the leaders of the two communities and then accepted by a majority of their populations and formally ratified by both sides``, the British government said.

    Turkey refuses to extend its Customs Union with the EU to include Cyprus, an EU member-state since 2004, as provided by an additional protocol to the Ankara Agreement, and to open its ports and airports to vessel and aircraft bearing the Cypriot flag as well as to normalise its relations with the Republic of Cyprus.

    In 2006, the EU decided to freeze eight of the 35 EU Turkey negotiating chapters due to Ankara`s refusal to comply with its EU obligations.

    EU leaders will assess Turkey`s progress course at their December summit in Brussels.

    Turkish troops have been occupying 37 per cent of Cyprus territory since 1974, in violation of repeated UN resolutions calling for their immediate withdrawal.

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