I would like to see the peaceful reunification of Cyprus with the consent of both communities and I was very disappointed to see the latest round of UN-led peace talks end without an agreement.
The UK, of course, has strong historical ties with Cyprus. The relationship between our two countries has remained strong thanks to the presence of Cypriot diaspora communities in the UK as well as British military bases and peacekeeping troops in Cyprus.
Given these ties, particularly our role as a guarantor of Cyprus’s territorial integrity, the UK will continue to have an important role in negotiating a peaceful settlement. I believe that the divisions in Cyprus can only be resolved by the two parties coming together. To this end, I urge all sides to avoid taking entrenched positions and to approach the negotiations in a spirit of compromise, mutual respect and trust.
Some of my constituents have raised the matter of Turkish troops remaining in Cyprus and I agree that this is a difficult issue to resolve. Another remaining obstacle is the return of property to tens of thousands of Cypriots who fled their homes in 1974. I am also aware of disputes over access to natural resources. The UK has long recognised the sovereign right of Cyprus to exploit the natural resources in its Exclusive Economic Zone and has encouraged their exploration.
While I do not underestimate the difficulties involved, I hope that there will be a resumption of talks and that a sustainable and comprehensive settlement can be reached. I can assure the people of Ilford South that I will continue to support efforts to achieve a united, stable and peaceful future for Cyprus.