UK Minister for Europe Sir Alan Duncan has repeated the British government’s position that it stands ready to accept any negotiated security framework for a reunited Cyprus, avoiding, however, to engage in a direct discussion on whether there should be any place for third country guarantees.
During a Foreign Affairs questions session in the House of Commons on Tuesday morning, Sir Alan was asked by the Conservative north London MP Theresa Villiers whether he would agree that “third country guarantees should have no place in a new settlement for Cyprus because Cypriots should be able to determine their own future without the threat of external military intervention.”
The Europe Minister said: “It’s up to the two sides to decide what kind of future security arrangements they want for a united Cyprus that will enable both communities to feel secure. And so as a guarantor power the UK is playing a supportive role and is open to any arrangement which is acceptable to the two communities.”
Sir Alan welcomed the Cypriot leaders’ commitment to resuming political level talks next month. “We are keen to maintain momentum and stand ready to bring negotiations to a successful conclusion,” he added.
David Burrowes, another north London Conservative MP, asked the minister whether he agreed with the view from the APPG for Cyprus members who visited the island last week that the best hope for a solution is the dedication and courage of both Cypriot leaders freely negotiating and the realisation from the communities that the status quo of a divided Cyprus is untenable, and also that Turkey needs to “get that” when it comes to security and guarantees.
In his response Sir Alan Duncan commended the leaders of the Greek-Cypriot and the Turkish-Cypriot communities for their “good faith and dedication” and for working “tirelessly” towards a solution.
“There are other ingredients that are necessary, such as the cooperation of the two main countries next door, Greece and Turkey; and of course finally, and this is very important, successful referendums within each community,” said the Minister for Europe.