LONDON -- Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and British Prime Minister David Cameron reaffirmed on Wednesday the strong bonds of friendship and partnership between Cyprus and the UK, during a meeting at 10 Downing Street.
Following the meeting, President Anastasiades cited a joint communiqué stating that the two leaders “reaffirmed their active commitment to a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, which would bring political, economic, and social benefits to the island and the region. Both leaders support a settlement agreed under the auspices of the UN Secretary General, based on the United Nations Charter and the UN Security Council Resolutions on Cyprus, as well as on the principles upon which the EU is founded, for a State of Cyprus with a single sovereignty, single international personality and a single citizenship, in a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality, as described in the relevant UNSCRs.”
The President of the Republic expressed his particular pleasure for his meeting with the British Prime Minister and his visit to London which he described as “of historic significance”. As he commented, the meeting was held in a very warm atmosphere
Anastasiades said that he updated Cameron on the latest developments regarding the Cyprus issue and the efforts “for an agreement on a substantial joint communiqué which will create the prospect of resulting to a potential resumption of talks.”
The President added that during the meeting he reiterated the necessity of adopting bold confidence building measures which will give a new momentum to the efforts to reach a solution – measures, as he noted, that will benefit both Greek and Turkish Cypriots.
“I also had the opportunity to inform the British Prime Minister about the state of the Cypriot economy and our efforts to restart it, without omitting to thank him for the substantial assistance of the UK in these efforts. More specifically on issues concerning the restructuring of the public sector and the modernisation of the Cyprus state,” said President Anastasiades.
He added that “the talks expanded to EU issues, where we shared concerns about the future of Europe, bearing especially in mind the current financial situation – to deal with the youth unemployment problem and more generally how to confront today’s stalemates.”
The joint communiqué states that “the leaders discussed how the EU needs to reform to become more flexible, more competitive, and more democratic – including through a strengthened role for national parliaments, where appropriate, and the case for renewing citizens’ democratic consent and support for the EU.”
President Anastasiades also referred to the morning agreement signed which relates to the development of property within the areas of the British bases in Cyprus. He said that it affects more than 15 communities and that it enhances considerably the prospects for growth and investment. According to the joint communiqué, “the arrangement is important in giving greater freedom to residents and property owners within the Bases to use their property while safeguarding the UK’s effective operation of the Bases for military use and is an excellent example of the good cooperation between the two Governments in the administration of the Bases. It enhances considerably the prospects for investment and growth.”
The two leaders also agreed “to work to deliver long-term growth for their countries and the EU: through dismantling economic barriers, seizing the opportunities that new technologies present, using the educational links between the two countries to prepare the next generation for the challenges of tomorrow, and strengthening their financial services sectors to support business.”
In particular, they recognised that single market reform will support their growth agenda in Europe through simplifying regulation, supporting more cross-border trade in services, and further developing a single digital market.
With regard to the EU they reaffirmed their commitment to its enlargement as a driver for peace, prosperity and progress across the continent and agreed that the accession of future Member States to the EU is dependent on them meeting all accession criteria. They also agreed that in order to maintain public support for enlargement they should explore how better to manage the impact on local communities when future countries join the EU.
As the joint communique states, Anastasiades and Cameron also spoke about the significant progress to date, and the strong commitment of the Cypriot government, to implementing the MoU with the Troika and to revitalising the economy and boosting jobs and growth. It was further agreed that the UK will continue to work with Cyprus to share best practice in restructuring its public sector and banking system.
On energy issues, they agreed to continue close cooperation, “particularly in education and training, over Cyprus’ exploration and exploitation of its natural resources in its Exclusive Economic Zone, in accordance with international law.” As the communique notes, “this will enhance the EU’s energy security and will contribute economic benefits.”
Lastly the meeting affirmed that the two countries share a decisive commitment to addressing security threats and humanitarian issues, especially in the Middle East. “The Syria crisis highlighted the potential for further cooperation and coordination between Cyprus and the UK, including with respect to the Sovereign Bases Areas, in addressing possible threats and ensuring the security and the stability of the wider region. This includes active co-operation in the drive for a political settlement in Syria, action to reduce the grave humanitarian consequences of the Syria crisis, and support to the moderate opposition forces in Syria,” the joint communiqué says. (CNA)