Newsroom / CNA
The British Government’s position regarding the Cyprus issue and Turkey’s activity within the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Republic of Cyprus does not change now that the UK has exited the European Union, the Minister for Europe Christopher Pincher said.
Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency on the sidelines of the ‘Conservative Friends of Cyprus’ annual vasilopita event at the Parliament on Wednesday evening, Pincher said:
“Our stance remains the same, which is we believe that a bizonal, bicommunal system for the people of the island of Cyprus is the best way forward for peace and prosperity for them all; and we believe that Cyprus has a right to exclusive access to its Exclusive Economic Zone, and any drilling there by anybody is wrong.”
“We deplore it and we continue to deplore it,” Pincher said.
“We want to make sure that the hydrocarbons around Cyprus in the EEZ are used in the good of everybody on the island of Cyprus. It’s theirs, it’s yours, make the best use of it and I encourage dialogue to ensure we end with a result that delivers that bizonal bicommunal federal system.”
Asked whether the UK Government is concerned about the rising tension in the broader Eastern Mediterranean, he said: “Of course we’re concerned, but we want those issues to be resolved peacefully through dialogue. We don’t see any value by creating greater friction.”
“Let’s get those talks going,” he said, adding that “I appreciate it’s challenging at the moment because elections are coming up, but once that’s over I look forward to the work that was done by President Anastasiades and Mr Akinci in the UN last year continuing, so those talks, that dialogue can continue again.”
The parliamentary hostess of the same event, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary Theresa Villiers told CNA that she considers hosting such an event “a privilege”.
She added: “I do this every year to highlight the Cypriot culture and the Cypriot community because I want my colleagues in Parliament to understand more about the Cypriot culture, to understand more about the injustice that is perpetrated on Cyprus.”
Pincher also hailed the contribution of the “strong, vibrant” Cypriot community to the UK economy, society and culture.
In his address, the High Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus to the UK Andreas Kakouris said that the Cypriot people will not give up trying to reunite their island and have the Turkish forces withdrawn.
“There is no Plan B for us. And with your support we will keep fighting,” he said.