UK Foreign Secretary welcomes “real progress” in Geneva

UK Foreign Secretary welcomes “real progress” in Geneva

The head of the UK delegation to the Geneva conference on Cyprus, which began on Thursday, has hailed the “real progress” achieved in the talks, saying that continued commitment and political will could lead to an agreement.

Johnson also said that an agreement remains “within reach”.

“I welcome the real progress made towards finding a solution to the Cyprus settlement over the past few days, in particular on the future security of a united Cyprus,” he said.

Expert talks, he noted, will start on 18 January ahead of further political level talks later this month.

“With continued commitment and political will, I believe an historical agreement is within reach,” said Mr Johnson.

The UN hosted on Thursday a conference on Cyprus in Geneva, which focused on security and guarantees issues. Attending the meeting were Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, and the foreign ministers of Cyprus` guarantor powers, Greece, Turkey and the UK. The EU and members of the UN Security Council were also in Geneva for the conference.

At the end of their deliberations, it was announced that the Conference on Cyprus will continue on January 18 at the level of technocrats who will discuss in a more concrete and thorough way the issue of security and guarantees, existing concerns and approaches in order to prepare a report.

When the report is ready, the Conference will reconvene at the political level with the same participants as it started on January 12.

The President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades decided to be represented at the Conference of technocrats by Andreas Mavroyiannis, who is the Greek Cypriot negotiator at the UN-led talks on the Cyprus problem.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci have been engaged in UN-led talks since May 2015 with a view to reunite the island under a federal roof.