Britain ready to assist efforts for Cyprus settlement
By Kyriakos Tsioupras
London, Jan 31 (CNA) -- British Secretary of State Dennis MacShane has expressed Britain's readiness to assist the UN Secretary-General in any new Cyprus settlement process.
''In meantime, we will continue to work to implement the EU's policy to end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots, in line with the appeal of the UN Secretary-General in his Report on his Mission of Good Offices of 8 May 2004'', he added. Responding to a question by Labour MP John Lyons at the House of Commons on whether Foreign Secretary Jack Straw will arrange meetings with the other guarantors of Cyprus to discuss the future of the island, MacShane said: ''regularly he meets his Greek and Turkish counterparts. The Foreign Secretary met the Greek Foreign Minister on 2 December 2004, and met the Turkish Foreign Minister on 9 December 2004. On both occasions Cyprus was discussed, among other issues''.
''The Government will continue to work with all the parties towards a just, viable and lasting Cyprus settlement and urges the two communities, and in particular the Greek Cypriot side, to demonstrate the necessary political will to that end'', said MacShane adding that Britain stands ready ''to assist the UN Secretary-General in any new settlement process and fulfil our responsibilities as a Guarantor Power''.
Asked by the same MP what recent meetings Straw has held with Turkish Ministers to discuss the removal of Turkish troops from Cyprus, MacShane said ''the Foreign Secretary discussed a range of issues, including troops in Cyprus, with the Turkish Foreign Minister on 9 December 2004''.
''Our fundamental goal remains to work for a Cyprus settlement. The Turkish Government gave their full support to the UN Secretary-General's settlement plan, which included a provision for the phased withdrawal of Turkish troops down to a militarily insignificant level'', he concluded.
Tukrish troops have been occupying 37 per cent of Cyprus territory since 1974 in violation of repeated UN resolutions calling for their withdarwal.