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British PM hopes that progress will be made towards resumption of Cyprus talks

The President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, updated the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, on the latest developments as regards the efforts to resume negotiations on the Cyprus problem, during their meeting on Tuesday in London.

A Downing Street spokesperson said that the Prime Minister “expressed hope that progress would be made towards the resumption of talks.”

CNA sources said that President Anastasiades told May that the UNSG`s special envoy Jane Holl Lute is now expected to visit Ankara, in the framework of her visits to the involved countries.

The same sources expressed the Greek Cypriot side’s readiness for the immediate resumption of the settlement talks, noting that neither Brexit nor the European Parliament elections should be considered a reason for delay.

President Anastasiades reiterated his position that talks should resume from the point where the previous negotiating process stopped. May is said to have acknowledged that the progress achieved so far should not be wasted.

The Prime Minister also affirmed that the UK Government’s position with regard to the thorny issue of guarantees has not been changed, namely that the UK does not wish to retain its role as a guarantor power in the framework of a Cyprus issue settlement. This reiteration of the British position was highlighted by President Anastasiades himself in a statement outside No10 Downing Street following his meeting with May.

The No10 spokesperson also said that the Prime Minister updated President Anastasiades with regard to Brexit and the three strands of work that she had agreed to take forward with President Juncker: alternative arrangements, changes to the Political Declaration and legally binding changes to the backstop.

She also welcomed the pledge Cyprus has made to protect the rights of UK nationals in a no deal scenario and reiterated the Government’s commitment to protect the rights of EU citizens, the spokesperson added.

Both leaders expressed optimism that a deal would be reached, even before the next European Council on the 21st of March.

They also reaffirmed their desire and belief that whichever form Brexit will take, the strong bilateral relation between the two countries will be maintained

The No10 spokesperson said: “The leaders spoke about the close co-operation between their two countries and agreed to build on these strong ties in the future. They looked forward to the conclusion of discussions, to allow for the implementation of the bilateral agreement that will enable Cypriots living in the Sovereign Base Areas to develop their land and businesses.”

The meeting began by discussing the reception the President had attended the previous evening at Buckingham Palace, which honoured the contribution made by the Cypriot diaspora to British society.

(Cyprus News Agency)

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