TRNC News Today 24th November 2015 – Hammond: “In the event of a settlement…..

TRNC News Today 24th November 2015

Hammond: “In the event of a settlement, the UK would be prepared to cede nearly half of the Sovereign Base Areas”

UK’s Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs, Philip Hammond said that in the event of a settlement, the UK would be prepared to cede nearly half of the land mass of the Sovereign Base Areas to a reunited Cyprus.

In an article he wrote at the news blog, Hammond stated: “The prospects for a unification of Cyprus are the best they have been for a generation. In many ways, the stars are aligning – the leaders of the Greek and Turkish communities are committed, the Guarantor Powers (Greece, Turkey and the UK) are supportive, and the international community is committed to help. Significant challenges remain, however, and I was in Cyprus yesterday to offer UK support to the UN-led process and to both communities in their efforts.

Philip Hammond

The settlement process aims to reunite Cyprus on the basis of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with political equality as defined by the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.  Since May, Nikos Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci (the leaders of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities, respectively) have met regularly and made good progress. They have created renewed hope and momentum for a comprehensive solution that will benefit all Cypriots, and I commend them for their leadership. Thanks to their efforts, there is now an opportunity to reach an historic agreement.

During this, my second visit in four months, I reiterated the UK’s strong support for the efforts of the two communities to reach a settlement, and stressed that the UK will do whatever it can to help reach agreement. Britain has been, and always will be, a strong and true friend of Cyprus. We have a large Cypriot diaspora, from both communities, in the UK and have always worked to strengthen the bonds that link us.

A settlement would be good for all Cypriots, creating significant economic opportunities. The respected Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) has forecast that the peace dividend for the island’s economy from a Cyprus settlement would amount to EUR 20 billion over the next 20 years.  And it would add 2.8 percentage points to real GDP growth.

It would also strengthen Cyprus as a beacon of stability in a troubled region, providing a boost for regional security, and opening the possibility of new energy and economic partnerships in the region.  It would contribute new momentum to the EU accession process of Turkey, a crucial EU partner in tackling security and migration challenges.

In the event of a settlement, the UK would be prepared to cede nearly half of the land mass of the Sovereign Base Areas to a reunited Cyprus. As a Guarantor Power, I made clear to the leaders that the UK is prepared to consider whatever security arrangements for a reunited Cyprus the parties can agree.

I also met some of the British peacekeeping troops who serve on the buffer zone between the two communities. Our troops serve under a UN mandate and their presence is a stark reminder of the costs of this frozen conflict and potential for a peace dividend on the island. The UK has nearly 280 service personnel on deployment at the buffer zone – the 180km stretch of land that currently separates the two communities. At some parts it is only a few meters wide, and British troops have contributed to maintaining the peace here since 1974.

As part of the visit, I met with the UN Head of Mission and the UN Committee on Missing Persons. The Committee on Missing Persons is doing the vitally important work of finding and identifying the estimated 2,000 Greek and Turkish Cypriots who went missing during the violence of 1974, when 170,000 Greek Cypriots went South, and 50,000 Turkish Cypriots went North.

I am not alone in focusing on Cyprus; my German colleague, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, was in Cyprus a few days ago and US Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Chinese representatives all plan to visit over the next couple of weeks to lend their backing for a deal to unify the island.

Espen Barth Eide

Espen Barth Eide, the UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser for Cyprus, updated me on the ongoing talks, recent developments and next steps during my visit yesterday. I look forward to welcoming him to London in the near future.

Experienced Cyprus watchers will counsel that we shouldn’t raise our hopes too high. The most intractable issues of property (the rights of those who lost property in 1974) and security (what, if any, security guarantees will remain in force after the settlement) are still not resolved. But real progress has been, and is being, made. As Anastasiades put it when he met David Cameron in London in 2014, he wants Cyprus to be part of the solution to the problems the EU and the West face, not just a problem. When there are a myriad of threats facing us from other sources, I’m sure we can all agree that is a goal worth working hard for.

I and my international colleagues will keep supporting and pursuing this effort to re-unify the island of Cyprus, supporting two leaders who genuinely want to find a solution.”

Akıncı and Anastasiades met again yesterday

Within the framework of the Cyprus negotiations President Mustafa Akıncı and the Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiades held a four- hour long meeting yesterday evening.

Akinci and Anastasiades

The meeting which was held in the buffer zone began at 18.00 and ended at around 22.00.  The Leaders will meet again tomorrow.

Noble has sold 35 percent of shares in Aphrodite to British Gas

The American Noble Company, the license holder of the 12th parcel and the Aphrodite bed which the Greek Cypriot Administration unilaterally declared “Exclusive Economic Zone” (MEB), sold 35 percent of the 70 percent shares to the British Gas Company.

Noble shares

After British Gas (BG) purchased the 35 percent of shares of Noble for 165 million dollars with the approval of the Greek Cypriot Cabinet, the license distribution rights in the 12th parcel are as follows: Noble Energy 35 percent, BG 35 percent and Delek-Avner 30 percent. The management of the parcels and beds belongs to Noble.

Terrorist alarm in South Cyprus

It was stated that the Greek Cypriot security authorities have become alarmed due to the arrival of some persons related to the extreme Islamic organizations in South Cyprus.

Terrorist alarm in south

Greek Cypriot daily Simerini reported that 6 French citizens, including 5 Turkish and 1 of Algerian origin, flew from Switzerland’s Basel city to Larnaca with Easy Jet Airways on Saturday 21st November. According to Greek Cypriot police sources, 6 persons were interrogated about their South Cyprus visit but they could not give enough information regarding their aim for visiting South Cyprus.  All suspects have been taken into custody with the aim of taking precautions.

Greek Cypriot daily Simerini also reported that the Greek Cypriot authorities held consultation with Interpol and Europol.

President Akıncı assigns his tie for 50+ project

President Mustafa Akıncı received the authorities of Kemal Saraçoğlu ‘Foundation for Children with Leukaemia and Fight against Cancer’ which started a 50+ Project towards improving the Child Oncology Department of Dr. Burhan Nalbantoğlu Hospital and for meeting its needs. During the reception, President Akıncı assigned and donated his tie for the project.

Akinci signs tie

Akıncı stated that his tie was used during his Presidential election process and as the TRNC Presidency they will also support the auction in the 50+ Project.

PIO logoSource: TRNC Public Information Office –

To read more news and information from the TRNC Ministry of Foreign Affairs, please click here

Pictures shown are courtesy of the TRNC Public Information Office Facebook page.