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.
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.”