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British Foreign Secretary: We work to create favourable conditions for solution
2005-07-05 10:06:44

London, Jul 2 (CNA)--Britain's priority on Cyprus, in the absence of formal negotiations is to work to create the most favourable conditions for a future settlement of the Cyprus problem, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has said.

In a written reply to National Federation of Cypriots in the UK President Haris Sofoclides' letter who congratulated him on his return to office, Straw noted that Britain supports calls for ending ''isolation'' of Turkish Cypriots, as well as UN calls for prioritisation of the demands by the Greek Cypriot side.

Straw said that ''the UN remains the international organisation most suited to broker a deal, and the role of the EU, as it always has been, is to assist their efforts.''

He expressed disappointment that Sofoclides called British policy on Cyprus as a ''backlash'' against the Greek Cypriots vote against the UN plan for a comprehensive settlement.

''We do not seek= it like that at all,'' British Foreign Secretary added, noting that after the failure of last year's process ''a period of reflection was inevitable and desirable.''.

According to Straw, ''our priority in this period, in the absence of formal negotiations, has been to work to achieve the conditions most favourable for a future settlement.''

''We have supported the UN's calls for prioritisation of demands by the Greek Cypriot side, capitalising on the work done by all parties before the referendums. And this is why we have sought to help the Turkish Cypriots with their recently elected pro-settlement leadership, to raise their standards to EU norms, and have for this reason supported calls of both the EU and the UN SG to end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots,'' he added.

With regard to Turkey, Straw reiterated British policy that Turkey's accession course is good for Cyprus and the Cyprus problem since it provides a promising backdrop against which to find a comprehensive settlement.

''A successful opening of accession negotiations with the EU on 3 October will be crucial to preserving this helpful backdrop,'' Straw added, noting that this ''will be the clearest signal that the Union is seriously interested in lasting peace and reconciliation in the Eastern Mediterranean.''

Finally, reiterating that Britain's chief aim on Cyprus remains a just, viable and lasting Cyprus settlement, Straw noted that British Prime Minister will welcome Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos to London on 26 July to discuss these issues.

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