The UK Government and the Government of the Republic of Cyprus announced today the next important stage in the implementation of the bilateral Arrangement reached in 2014 on the regulation of non-military development in the Bases.
Speaking at a signing ceremony at the Presidential Palace, President Nicos Anastasiades said this was a historic day for the inhabitants and property owners in the territory controlled by the British Authorities, as well as a tangible proof of the excellent relations between the Republic of Cyprus and the United Kingdom.
And UK High Commisssioner Stephen Lillie said: “This agreement means that, as far as possible, residents in the Bases will now enjoy the same rights as Cypriots living in the Republic to sell and develop their land. ”
“This will bring very obvious benefits to the 12,000 Cypriots who live in the Bases. At a time when coronavirus is generating fear and uncertainty about the livelihoods of communities the world over, I take pride in the fact that we have worked together to deliver a change that will have a real and positive impact on people’s prosperity.”
Major General Rob Thomson, Commander British Forces Cyprus and Administrator of the Bases, said: ‘It is really good news that we will soon be able to allow more development opportunities to the many Cypriots who live within the Bases, while safe-guarding the UK’s operational work here, work that makes such an important contribution to Western Security. This bilateral agreement on Non-Military Development underlines the closeness of the UK-Cyprus partnership.’
Anastasiades said that the Agreement provides for a substantial review of the ownership status of properties, with full restoration of the rights of the inhabitants and the owners of real estate.
In short, amongst other things:
1. A very large percentage of the territory within the British Bases is made available by becoming part of Development Zones. To be more specific, 1800 hectares of land (about 860 hectares in the Akrotiri area and 930 hectares in the Dhekelia area) are included in Development Zones.
2. Everything that applies to the rest of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus in relation to the acquisition and development of property by Cypriots, Europeans and third country citizens shall apply, ensuring that the rights of the inhabitants and property owners inside the British Bases are equal to those of the rest of the population of the Republic.
3. Beyond the housing, tourist, commercial and industrial development, large scale developments will be allowed, such as:
(i) Various types of Educational Institutions (Schools of Secondary Education, Regional Educational Institutions, Tertiary Education Institutions)
(ii) Theme Parks and Multiple Sports and Recreation Centres.
(iii) Specialised Clinics or Hospitals, Rehabilitation Clinics and other related medical centres.
4. It may also be possible for licences to be approved outside the designated Development Zones, under specific requirements, for smaller scale developments, such as:
(a) Petrol Stations
(c) Reception Halls
(d) Special Type Developments.
In a joint statement, the UK and Cyprus said the implementation of the Arrangement reflects the excellent level of the bilateral relations between our two countries and governments.
“The Department of the Environment of the Republic of Cyprus and the SBA Administration will tomorrow morning publish the Draft Policy Statement, the zoning arrangements, including maps, and the Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment (SEIA) report relating to the Arrangement. The publication of the SEIA report will commence a 35-day public consultation phase, which is the essential first step towards allowing, in accordance with the provisions of the final Policy Statement and the zoning arrangements, residential and commercial land development in the Bases on the same basis as in the Republic,” the statement said.
And it added: “In the 60th year of diplomatic relations between the UK and the Republic of Cyprus, it represents a significant step forward in strengthening and deepening even further our cooperation and bilateral engagement which is based on common values, principles and ideals, as well as the strong bonds of friendship and historical ties that exist between our two countries and peoples.
It also shows our collective commitment to securing and promoting the prosperity of the residents and communities living in the Base Areas, while ensuring that the Bases will continue to function in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Treaty of Establishment.”