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TONY NEOPHYTOU

“DRIVE TIME”

BORIS JOHNSON SAYS CYPRUS ON THE VERGE OF “GREAT PROGRESS”

Boris Johnson has said that Cyprus is potentially on the verge of some great progress in terms of reaching a negotiated settlement to the long-standing division following the Turkish invasion of 1974 and the subsequent 42-year long illegal occupation of the northern part of the island.

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Appearing before the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday, where he answered questions on a number of foreign policy issues, the UK Foreign Secretary was asked by Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell whether he would work with the Cypriots for a “fair and amicable” solution, while preserving the British sovereignty over the military bases in Akrotiri and Dhekelia.

“We are potentially on the verge of some great progress in Cyprus and I pay tribute to both leaders on both sides, Mr Anastasiades and Mr Akinci whom I met both and Mr Kasoulides the Foreign Minister too in New York,” replied Mr Johnson.

“The Turks are playing their role, the Greeks are playing their role, we obviously have a role too; the territory of our bases is huge in Cyprus. We are willing to cede some of that territory that we don’t need to help move the process forward and that’s a good thing. I think it’s too early to count our chickens in Cyprus, it really is,” added the British Foreign Secretary.

And he concluded: “Cyprus is one of the few examples in the world of two leaders who are willing to show leadership. These two guys are trying to make a difference for peace and being willing to take a risk with the electorates behind them rather than solely obeying the narrow party politics of the group that’s got them into power. They are really reaching out for peace and I think that they are doing a great thing.”


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