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Britain under fire as Russia steps up for Cyprus peace talks

Zakharova calls out Britain, affirms Russian support for Cyprus settlement

Newsroom / CNA

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova referred on Wednesday to the 65th anniversary of the Zurich-London Agreements and criticised Britain, while expressing Moscow's readiness to contribute to the process of inter-communal talks and the settlement of the Cyprus issue on the basis of the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council.

The Russian Federation, she said, being a responsible part of the international community and a permanent member of the UN Security Council, is firmly guided by the principles according to which the compromise for the settlement of the Cyprus issue must be reached, as provided for in the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council, through voluntary talks of the Cypriot communities with mandatory, careful consideration of their valid concerns and interests, and of course without outside pressure, without using this "endless weaving of time frames and of some external recipes" she said.

"Our side is ready honestly and in principle to help in this project", she said during her weekly briefing.

Noting that the signing of the Zurich-London agreements, took place on the 11th and 19th of February, 1959, she described the independence of Cyprus as "severely limited" from the start, since "London, Athens and Ankara received the status of guarantor of the new state and the possibility for intervention in its internal affairs."

She said that Greek and Turkish military forces were stationed on the island, Britain retained two areas of the island with a total area of 99 square miles, i.e. 256 square kilometers, as sovereign bases, a number of other installations and a whole package of privileges.

She expressed the view that the agreements, which were based on the Constitution of Cyprus, "contained from their inception a dangerous conflict dynamic, which manifested itself in the most dramatic way in the bloody conflicts between the communities in December 1963 and the subsequent period, in 1974, that led to the tragic division of the island."

She pointed out that the "atavism of the colonial times has not been overcome even to our time" adding that this "allows the British to behave aggressively in the region today, to ignore international law, to apply military force without the approval of the UN Security Treaty. All this undoubtedly undermines regional stability, fosters tension on the island and around it and does not contribute to the settlement of the extremely protracted Cyprus problem."

The Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman added that the Soviet Union during the entire decolonization process "supported the fair demands of the Cypriots for independence", but also "repeatedly indicated that the British Government, by imposing a plan to resolve the Cyprus issue, was in fact seeking not to help, but to consolidate its state in the new, already historical conditions and to sow seeds of discord between the communities of the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots".

1959 saw the end of British colonial rule for Cyprus and, following the Zurich and London Agreements signed in February of the same year (by representatives of Britain, Greece, Turkey and the Greek and Turkish communities of the island), for the first time in the long history of Cyprus a single, independent and sovereign State was established on August 16, 1960: the Republic of Cyprus.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres appointed María Ángela Holguín Cuéllar of Colombia as his personal envoy for Cyprus, to assume a Good Offices role on his behalf and search for common ground on the way forward in the Cyprus issue.

Cyprus  |  Russia  |  Britain  |  UK  |  politics

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