UK backs Cyprus’ rights to search for hydrocarbons

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has expressed hope that the Cyprus negotiations are “on the brink of resumption”, this time with sufficient momentum for a chance of success, leading to an end to “the torment of the continuing division of the island”.

At an event in north London on Friday evening, organised by the ‘Conservative Friends of Cyprus’, Hammond identified the need for the Turkish Cypriot community “to be clear that it wants to engage in a settlement process” as the “key issue” in achieving progress. Hammond’s reference to the Turkish Cypriot community was in response to a question posed by a member of the Greek Cypriot audience about the circumstances under which Turkey could change its approach towards the Cyprus problem.

“The UN-led process, the [UN Secretary-General Special Adviser] Eide process had developed a momentum; we were very sorry that the dispute over hydrocarbons has caused a hiatus in it, but I hope we are now on the brink of resumption – and I hope and I am told by experts that there is sufficient momentum and sufficient points of agreement to give these talks a chance of success,” said the Foreign Secretary.

“If we can get that momentum going I can assure you that the international community will apply the maximum pressure on governments outside Cyprus to be supportive or at least not to interfere with that process going on. Also, the EU has a close working relationship with Turkey and will want to ensure that the UN-led process in Cyprus is able to run its course with good will on all sides,” he added.

The Foreign Secretary said that the British government “will continue to champion Cyprus’ right to exploit its economic zone around the island without interference from others.”

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