Newsroom / CNA
Outgoing British High Commissioner Matthew Kidd, believes the Cyprus peace process should resume as quickly as possible, as the challenge of making progress gets harder not easier.
In an interview to the Cyprus News Agency, Kidd said the Cyprus problem has not turned into a secondary issue as a result of developments in the wider region, saying London is ready to be part of the preparation, provided that this is welcome by the parties.
He said the sovereign military bases in Cyprus were key, and the strikes carried out by the US, France and the UK, against Syria, was very specific, very limited and designed to be as unprovocative as possible.
The leaders "seem to have agreed that they both want to use the idea of consultation missions by the UN to clarify the way forward which is good because it implies that they do both want there to be a way forward."
"I do think that it is important that whatever is going to happen should start to happen quickly because after such a long delay since last summer and with other things that are happening, the world is not waiting, the challenge of making progress gets harder and not easier. So the sooner that anything that can be started gets going, the better."
"London would assume that there will be a part of the discussion that needs to involve the guarantor powers, we would expect that and we would be ready to do that of course, and we would be ready and expect to be part of the preparation, the creation of understanding, the development of ideas in the way we were before as well, if that is what is helpful and the Cypriot parties welcome it, then we will be ready to do that as before".
"Things that have happened in the drilling area, in the past few months, have added to tensions, to mutual mistrust."
"Things that have happened in the drilling area, in the past few months, have added to tensions, to mutual mistrust"
"Even without being directly part of the process and they have never been, they now constitute part of the, the climate, part of the backdrop, within which any resumed process needs to take place."
"Ιn the same way, some of the recent developments between Greece and Turkey are part of the background now and not a helpful part of the background either."
"If the fact of hydrocarbons is ever going to be able to be a positive incentive, a way of making both sides keener to achieve a settlement...you cannot do that while not having any contact between the parties on the subject at all."
‘How they do it, when they do it is absolutely for them to think about’"
Syria strikes and the UK bases
"It was designed to limit the risk of retaliation, designed to send a very specific message that the international community does not consider that using chemical weapons is acceptable and that we will do something about it if we see that they are being used."
"In order to do that you need to conduct an operation like that in a very carefully planned sort of way, to minimise your risks, the risks of retaliation.
From our point of view the easiest way for us to achieve that end was to use aircraft taking off from the bases.
But we absolutely recognize, and the PM said it to the President, the Defence Minister spoke, I spoke to people, there has been a lot of contact, we absolutely recognize that the use of the bases indirectly also causes concern to Cyprus, so we have said that we want to make sure that as far as we can, any risk of retaliation that might cause problems for Cyprus as well as for the bases, we will do our best to make sure that that does not happen."
"We recognize that using the bases in the way that we did, created a possibility which we need to take very seriously, of needing to protect this whole island if you like, or at least the parts of it, the bases and around the bases, and we do that, and we have told the government that we do that."
British Prime Minister Teresa May briefed President Nicos Anastasiades on the operation in Syria within a few hours afterwards.
Asked if May should have informed him before the operation: "In an ideal world, of course. But the very nature of operations like this, it means that you take your decisions, very shortly before implementing them and for operational, security reasons, you need to carry them out as quickly and as safely as you do and then you catch up with yourself as soon as you can afterwards."
Kidd said the British Bases are important "because we have learned by experience that threats to our security do not just arise at Calais, they arise far further away".
"The fact that there is no evidence of tourist cancellations or anything of that kind since last weekend seems to support the view that people do not automatically assume that such use of the Bases means increased risk’.
The High Commissioner said Cyprus is one of two or three EU countries whose economy will be most directly affected by Brexit "not necessarily badly affected but directly affected because of things like the tourism flow and links in the financial services sector and the people to people links and so on."
Pointing out that according to the Cyprus Foreign Ministry the UK and Cyprus have voted on the same side in over 90% of the business of the EU over 15 years, he said that "we think of Cyprus as being a very like-minded EU member state across the whole range of the EU intern business".
"So both for the direct bilateral reasons and because Cyprus, we think, will be an EU member state arguing for the kind of EU that we want to have as our nearest neighbour and our biggest trading partner after Brexit, all those things will make the economic, commercial, financial relationship between the two countries just as important even though on a different basis in the future as it is now."