UK’s support to Cyprus not expressed just in words, new High Commissioner says

UK’s support to Cyprus not expressed just in words, new High Commissioner says

The United Kingdom`s support to the efforts to reach a solution of the Cyprus problem is not expressed just in words, new High Commissioner of the United Kingdom to the Republic of Cyprus, John Christopher William (Matthew) Kidd, has said.

Presenting his credentials to President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades, the High Commissioner, who also served previously in Cyprus as HC, said that the work of President Anastasiades and the Turkish Cypriot leader at the Cyprus talks, `have brought this goal significantly closer than when I left two years ago`.

`The shape of a settlement that can be just, viable and lasting is becoming clearer. Your negotiations are steadily reducing the number of issues remaining to be settled, and are starting to build hope across the island that a solution is within reach` he pointed out.

He added `it is easy to say that my Government supports your efforts. And it is true. But our support is expressed not just in words. You expect of us more than that. Always within the framework of a negotiating process under Cypriot leadership, we will seek to offer ideas where they can help; influence, where we have it; and practical experience, to help ensure that the many steps that will be needed to put a settlement into practice, robustly and durably, will be in place when they are needed`.

`It is a big task; and a big responsibility. I know that I have my Government’s backing to make this support for the settlement process as active and helpful as we can; as the fullest possible way to express, and live up to, the bonds that unite our governments and peoples”, he concluded.

Referring to bilateral ties he said that they have extended to more fields adding that `any two countries, which find that they vote together on 90% of the business of the European Union can be confident that they are to a high degree like-minded, and not just on the EU’s agenda`.

`Building on that like-mindedness to the benefit of both countries, will be a central goal of my second mission here. I hope that we can take forward our engagement in the fields of economic growth and prosperity; our collaboration in many aspects of security and defence; our shared Commonwealth membership; and our shared efforts to extend the huge range of personal links tying Cypriots to Britain and British people to Cyprus` he said.

Referring to Brexit, he said that he would work to ensure that the design of the UK`s future relationship with the EU does not weaken the bilateral bonds between Cyprus and the UK or reduce the scope to keep working together `wherever we are like-minded`.

Receiving the credentials, the President of Cyprus referred to Brexit, pointing out that `we are at the beginning of a long process, whose aim should be the smoothest possible exit of the UK from the EU. The result of this process will define the evolution of the relations of the UK with the EU`.

`The excellent bilateral relations and close ties that exist between the Republic of Cyprus and the United Kingdom were in place before the accession of the two countries to the EU and will continue to bind us` he said.

President Anastasiades pledged that the Republic of Cyprus will work to further enhance and deepen its relations with the UK so that the interests of the two countries and their peoples are fully ensured on the basis of the new conditions created.

As regards the ongoing Cyprus talks, he said that the two sides have reached a common understanding on an important number of issues related to the chapters of governance and power-sharing, property, economy, and the EU.

However, he added that significant differences still remain in the aforementioned four chapters, while we have yet to hold any substantive discussions on two decisive chapters, namely territorial readjustments and security and guarantees, as well as on other issues, which are fundamental and constitute an integral aspect of the comprehensive settlement, such as Day 1 of the settlement and what it would entail and drafting of the Federal Constitution, Laws and Legislation.

`Nonetheless, following the meeting with the Turkish Cypriot leader on June 08, 2016 and the methodology that has been agreed for the way forward, I am confident that more rapid progress can be achieved in the coming months. This is due to the fact that we will intensify the negotiating process through holding leaders meetings twice a week and during our meetings each of the thematic clusters that we have created will be discussed` the President said.

Reiterating the framework of the Cyprus solution, based on the UN resolutions and the EU principles and values, he said that Cyprus counts on the strong support of the international community `and of our close friends, such as the UK`.

`This support encompasses conveying the message to Turkey, an occupying force in Cyprus, that it needs to grasp the opportunity offered by the current juncture in the negotiations, acknowledge its own historic responsibility and contribute concretely to the process, not via rhetoric assurances, but through the adoption of concrete steps, which will positively underpin the climate of hope prevailing in the island` he stressed.

As regards bilateral ties, he said that the last few years the cooperation has gained a renewed impetus and there are new areas of cooperation, such as tackling asymmetrical threats, addressing regional challenges and increasing security cooperation in the wake of terrorist attacks in Europe and elsewhere.

Referring to the Cypriot economy, he recalled that it is now emerging out of its most challenging period to date and that last spring, Cyprus has managed to successfully complete the implementation of the macroeconomic adjustment programme that was agreed with EU Institutions and IMF in March 2013.

He pointed out that Cyprus still needs to tackle significant challenges and continue a policy of changes, reforms and rationalisation of public finances in a serious manner, sharpen its competitive edge and attract foreign direct investments.

`In this respect, we are deeply thankful for the assistance the UK has provided us with the herculean task of reforming the civil service. Our ultimate goal is to achieve growth, modern institutions and sustainable prosperity for all Cypriots` he concluded.