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26 September, 2023
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New British High Commissioner wants to deepen special relationship

London seeks to remain a close friend of Cyprus post-Brexit


On presenting his credential in Nicosia on Friday new British High Commissioner in Cyprus Stephen Lillie said there was a great deal for the two countries to celebrate despite the complexities.

"Perhaps the most important historical legacy is the network of personal connections between the two countries, with our large British community of over 70,000 residents here in Cyprus, and some 300,000 Cypriots or Britons of Cypriot origin living in the UK," said Lillie.

He noted that in recent local council elections in England and Wales, at least 16 Britons of both Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot origin were elected.

But Lillie said Brexit would not break the strong bond between Cyprus and Britain.

"Reunified, Cyprus can achieve even greater things as a country"

"I am determined that as we leave the EU, the British High Commission will work to build an even wider and deeper relationship between Britain and Cyprus: a relationship founded on shared values as liberal free-trading democracies and the rule of law, shared membership of the Commonwealth..."

He said Britain will continue to support a just, democratic and lasting solution to the Cyprus issue.

"Reunified, Cyprus can achieve even greater things as a country, and so can our bilateral relationship. So we will support the settlement process, which is our duty as a guarantor power and permanent member of the Security Council, but which is even more so our wish as a friend of the Cypriot people”.

President Nicos Anastasiades said the London-Nicosia relationship was one "of undeniable resilience" dating back to the twelfth century when Richard the Lionheart came to Cyprus.

"Cyprus and the United Kingdom have enjoyed a strong and enduring relationship throughout our long and shared history, which is based on common values, principles and interests," said Anastasiades.

"The UK and especially London is home to a large Cypriot community that plays an important role in the economic and political life of British society, while a large number of Cypriot students pursue their education in British universities," he added.

British Bases

Anastasiades said relations had "entered a new phase" with concrete and effective cooperation of pragmatic value, including tackling regional challenges and addressing security threats and the rise of terrorism.

He said about Brexit: "It is with deep regret that we will lose such a close and valued partner within the European Union, but we fully respect the will of the British people."

Nicosia also wants a deal that would see British Bases on Cyprus remain within EU customs so as not complicate the lives of Cypriot who live and work within the UK sovereign areas.

"With regards to the ongoing discussions between Cyprus and the UK on the British bases, within the context of the wider Brexit negotiations, we look forward to concluding them in time."

"We would highly appreciate your support in order to maintain the bases in the EU customs territory and ensure that the rights and interests of EU citizens residing and/or working in the bases are safeguarded."

Cyprus Problem

Commenting on the Cyprus issue Anastasiades highlighted Turkish hostility over the island's energy search.

"Regrettably, Turkey’s most recent illegal actions in our maritime zones amount to escalated provocations and a flagrant violation of our sovereign rights to explore and exploit our natural resources and do not create the necessary conditions for resuming negotiations."

"What I would like to stress and what I have made clear to the UN Secretary-General and the international community is that if Turkey’s illegal actions cease...I am ready to immediately engage in a new dialogue."


UK  |  Cyprus  |  Brexit  |  Bases  |  Lillie

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