The UK House of Lords held a debate on the likelihood of a solution to the Cyprus problem before the year’s end.
Lord Balfe said that President Akinci had shown much courage in the face of the opposition he faced in the north. “Many on both sides are not looking for a solution,” he said. “Both sides have got to want a solution.”
He added that if there was no settlement, “north Cyprus will have to be brought in from the cold”. He suggested that to facilitate this move, when the UK negotiates Brexit, all restrictions imposed by the EU on north Cyprus, should be lifted.
The TRNC he said should become like the Channel Islands for Turkey.
“My view is that north Cyprus could survive and even prosper. It’s not the end of the world if the talks fail. We can’t go on year after year having abortive talks and not getting anywhere”, he added.
House of Lords Whip Baroness Goldie said that although the UK supports the negotiations, it was for the two leaders to make the decisions, in particular with regard to guarantees, which the UK would respect.
“This government believes there has never been a better opportunity for pace in Cyprus and this is down to the unstinting efforts of the leaders of the two communities, no one should underestimate the scale of the challenges to reach a solution by the end of 2016”.
“But with compromise and courage we believe a deal within the timeframe is achievable,” she added.
“The government believes a solution by the end of the year is achievable,” Goldie added. “All parties will need to show courage and will have to be willing to make compromises but we firmly believe the rewards will outweigh the sacrifices and we urge the leaders to seize the opportunity.”
Earlier on in the session, Lord Northbrook said that following his visit to the TRNC in July, he had been left with the impression that there were many unresolved issues remaining and that that a solution by the end of 2016, was impossible.
However, it is likely that most of his impressions had been influenced by the Turkish Cypriot government. Many of its members do not support President Akinci’s efforts.
He said that said he hoped the leaders would prove him wrong.