UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond says Britain is totally flexible regarding its role as a guarantor power and also backs efforts to seek financial support to settle the property issue in Cyprus.
Hammond was addressing an event in Manchester on Sunday evening, organised by the ‘Conservative Friends of Cyprus’. UK government officials, MPs, MEPs, Conservatives and prominent local figures also attended.
The UK Foreign Secretary repeated that he was committed to helping to find a solution to the Cyprus problem. “The solution to this long-term problem is actually now within our reach”, he said.
Regarding Britain’s role as a guarantor power, Hammond said that the UK is determined to assist in any way possible in order to reach a mutually agreeable solution.
“We are, of course, one of the guarantor powers based on the Cyprus constitution and we are totally flexible vis a vis our future role and relationship with Cyprus on this issue. If it’s any help, we will examine any option agreed by the parties [involved]”, said Hammond.
The continuing presence of Turkish troops in Cyprus has always been divisive and Turkey and Greece, who are also guarantors, are polar opposites when it comes to security issues in Cyprus.
Greece says that guarantors are outdated and unnecessary and Turkey holds that guarantors are vital to keeping the peace and maintaining security on the island.
Equally, the majority of Greek Cypriots are in favour of doing away with guarantees while the majority of Turkish Cypriots cannot accept a solution without guarantees from Turkey. Both sides have drawn a ‘red line’ on the issue.
UN Special Advisor Espen Barth Eide reportedly has “new ideas” on the issue of guarantees, and it is expected that the two leaders, President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akinci, will discuss them with Eide when they meet on 12th October.