There were no trade-offs between Nicosia and London as regards the signed agreement lifting restrictions in developing land owned by Cypriots within the British bases area, said President Anastasiades.
And fears that this area could turn into a new Gibraltar-style British colony are groundless, he added.
“This agreement has neither a winner nor a loser. It’s a win-win situation for both sides. There are no trade-offs, it is an agreement that lifts a decades-old thorn in relations between the Republic of Cyprus and (former colonial power) Britain,” he said in a televised conference.
“As for concerns over the “Gibraltarisation” of the bases area, these are groundless because the agreement, for the first time, succeeds in amending the well known paragraph referring to the bases administration…It is made clear that the British government will not itself set up civilian commercial or industrial enterprises. And its commitment not to settle that area is maintained and even strengthened,” he added.
Anastasiades also said that the agreement signed in London in mid-January fully protects the Republic’s interests.
And that for the first time in 53 years since the island’s independence a general guideline on development of non-military areas within the bases has been achieved.
The agreement benefits a total of 22 communities in Limassol, Larnaca and free Famagusta districts with land freed for development making up 78% of the total area of the bases.
That is about 200 out of a total of 255 square kilometres of land including private properties there.
The areas to benefit in Limassol are: Akrotiri, Kolossi, Erimi, Episkopi, Asomatos, Trahoni, Avdimou, Paramali, Sotira, regions in Ypsonas and a small one in Kato Polemidia municipality.
In Larnaca, the areas benefiting are Xylophagou, Xylotymbou, Ormidia and Pyla.
And in Famagusta, the areas are Dasaki Achna, Aheritou, Vrysoulles, Avgorou, Frenaros, and Strovilia area bordering the Dherynia crossing.
The President also said that the agreement benefits thousands of people and gives a new dimension in the bailed-out country’s economy recovery prospects.
A lot of work is behind this agreement, as negotiations began on October 2 last year and were concluded recently in Nicosia after 10 meetings.
There is a love-hate relationship between Cyprus and Britain – a guarantor power together with Greece and Turkey which still occupies one third of the divided island.
The agreement provides that authorities of Cyprus and the bases area will jointly define planning zones and relevant policies for the freed areas with the exception of land designated as military sites.
Asked about property there belonging to Turkish Cypriots, the President said the agreement does not differentiate between Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot proprietors. And that whatever is enforced in the Republic applies to all affected proprietors.
These properties are also in the hands of the appointed Guardian of Turkish Cypriot properties in the free areas, anyway.
Insiders said Turkish Cypriots were a bit concerned over this agreement because they were kept in the dark.
And they had asked London to make the agreement public, something that was done yesterday.