The Foreign Secretary William Hague:
I would like to provide the House with an update on efforts to reach a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus.
On 11 February, in their capacity as the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities respectively, President Anastasiades and Dr Eroğlu met under United Nations auspices. The Joint Declaration they adopted is an important step forward, and provides a real opportunity to secure a lasting and comprehensive settlement. That document makes clear the two leaders’ determination to resume structured negotiations leading to a united Cyprus, and their intention to reach a settlement as soon as possible. The Declaration includes a range of agreements both on the conduct of talks and on the shape of the future federation.
The Joint Declaration provides a very good basis for productive talks. The achievement of an agreed set of parameters gives clear direction to the negotiators and the leaders over the coming months. Many of the broad principles for a united Cyprus have now been agreed, and I trust that the parties will now negotiate in good faith on that basis until a final settlement has been reached.
Detailed negotiations will now begin in earnest. With continued cooperation and pragmatism, and a sustained commitment to the vision of a reunified Cyprus, the two communities will be able to agree a solution which they will approve by referendum.
The United Kingdom fully supports the Cypriots as they work for a solution to the division which has affected their island for too long. A settlement will pay dividends for them, for the region, and for Europe. We have been active, in close coordination with the Americans and our other partners, in helping to achieve this breakthrough. My Right Honourable Friend the Minister for Europe has had contact with leaders of both communities, including during his recent visit to Cyprus. The Prime Minister was pleased to welcome President Anastasiades to London last month. I have had useful discussions with the President about the need to achieve a settlement, most recently last week. I have also regularly discussed Cyprus with the Turkish Foreign Minister, including twice in the past week. Our diplomatic network has of course been actively engaged in support of a settlement.
I would like to assure the House that our support, as a long-standing friend of Cyprus, will continue as talks progress. I will keep the House informed of significant developments.
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