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UK Foreign Minister rejects prospect of direct flights to Turkish occupied part of Cyprus

The UK Foreign Minister for the European Neighbourhood Wendy Morton has rejected any suggestion of direct flights to the Turkish occupied part of Cyprus being authorised by the British government.

“In line with the rest of the international community, with the sole exception of Turkey, the UK does not recognise the self-declared ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ as an independent state, and Ercan airport in the north of Cyprus is not recognised by the International Civil Aviation Organisation as an international airport. As a result, we cannot negotiate an Air Services Agreement with the administration in the north of Cyprus, so there are no direct flights,” was Mrs Morton’s response to a relevant parliamentary question.

She also pointed to a UK Court of Appeal verdict which has confirmed that direct flights between the UK and the north of Cyprus would breach the UK`s international obligations under the 1944 Chicago Convention on Civil Aviation.

The same answer was given by the Foreign Office to a recent online petition for direct flights.

“The UK Government remains convinced that a comprehensive settlement is the best chance of resolving these complex issues,” added the Foreign Minister in her response.

Wendy Morton also reiterated that the UK remains committed to supporting the UN process to reach a Cyprus Settlement. In a repossession to a different parliamentary question, she noted that such a development “would be good for Cyprus, regional stability and UK interests.”

Referring to April’s informal meeting on Cyprus under the UN Secretary-General, she repeated that Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab “continued to urge all sides to demonstrate flexibility and compromise” to find a solution to the Cyprus Issue “within the UN Security Council parameters.”

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results.

(CNA)

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