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UK’s Raab visit to divided Cyprus aims to reiterate London’s support to lasting settlement

UK Foreign Secretary Donimic Raab will reiterate his country’s support for achieving a just and lasting settlement in Cyprus during his talks in Nicosia on Thursday.

This is what a press release issued by the British High Commission in Nicosia said on Wednesday, adding that prospects for the upcoming UN-led meeting on a Cyprus settlement will be the main focus of Raab’s first official visit to Cyprus.

He will meet the President and Foreign Minister of the Republic of Cyprus as well as the Turkish Cypriot leader ahead of UN-led settlement talks in Ne York early in March.

“In the first Foreign Secretary visit to the island since 2016, he will reiterate the UK’s support for achieving a just and lasting settlement of the division of the island and reaffirm the UK’s commitment to the bilateral relationship during talks with President Nicos Anastasiades,” it also said.

“The Foreign Secretary has said that UK and Cyprus have deep, historic ties, spanning education, defence, trade and – most importantly – our people. The UK is committed to supporting our friends in Cyprus in the pursuit of lasting peace in this region,” it added.

The Foreign Secretary will also meet Foreign Minister, Nikos Christodoulides, and Turkish Cypriot leader, Ersin Tatar, to emphasise the UK’s commitment to supporting all the island’s leaders in their efforts to negotiate a settlement, the press release noted.

He will visit British military serving with the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) at their base in the historic Ledra Palace Hotel in the UN Buffer Zone. He will meet the Head of UNFICYP and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Cyprus, Elizabeth Spehar, to discuss the upcoming UN-led talks.

“The UN is planning to host President Anastasiades, Turkish Cypriot leader Tatar and Government officials from the three guarantor powers of Cyprus (UK, Greece, Turkey) for talks in the next few weeks,” the press release concluded.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. The latest UN backed round of talks took place in 2017, in the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana, but failed to yield any results.

(CNA)

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