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British High Commissioner: the time for dialogue has come
2006-01-10 14:59:20

Nicosia, Jan 10 (CNA) -- Britain does not and will not recognise the self-styled regime in Cyprus’ Turkish occupied areas, British High Commissioner in Nicosia Peter Millett said here today in a statement, ahead of a proposed visit to the island by Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

Millett also said that the time for dialogue has come but this dialogue has to be with all sides if a meaningful resumption of negotiations is to take place, noting that ''the international community is ready and willing to assist but can only do so if it is able to engage with all sides''.

His comments come in the wake of government calls to respect the Republic of Cyprus during the Straw visit. The government believes that there should be no move on the part of Britain during the visit that could be exploited by the Turkish Cypriot regime or interpreted as adding diplomatic clout or any hint of international recognition to the regime, which no other state but Turkey recognises.

The High Commissioner noted the Cyprus government concern “about the Foreign Secretary’s intention to call on the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community in his office” and recalled that calling on him in his office “has been the practice of senior visitors from the international community, including UK ministers, for many years.”

“Such a meeting would not represent any change to the UK’s firm policy of non-recognition of the regime in the north. Quite the opposite'', said Millett stressing that Britain does not recognize and will not recognize the regime.

Speaking to journalists, he pointed out that “now is the time for dialogue and discussion of the way forward.”

Dialogue with and between all sides is vital, if we are ever to see a meaningful resumption of the settlement process, he said, noting that the Cyprus government has been stressing the need for any new initiative to be well prepared.

Millett said the Foreign Secretary is keen to visit Cyprus towards the end of this month and as the first visit to the island for a decade it demonstrates “the UK government’s strong desire to reinforce our countries’ bilateral relationship and help in the pursuit of a Cyprus settlement to which both communities can agree.”

The visit would provide the opportunity for “important bilateral business to be done” and Straw’s meetings with President Papadopoulos and Foreign Minister Iacovou would take forward UN/Cyprus cooperation on a wide range of issues under the structured dialogue, agreed between London and Nicosia last year.

“We want this positive step to happen during January. Naturally the Foreign Secretary also wishes to discuss the potential for progress towards a Cyprus settlement with the leaders of both communities, and to look for ways in which the UK might help to move the process forward,” Millett told the press.

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