Turkish, Greek Cyprus guarded over Britain's land offer
Britain has renewed an offer to make available half of its territory on Cyprus if the island can be reunited, British PM Brown said.
Britain has renewed an offer to make available half of its territory on Cyprus if the island can be reunited, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said after talks with the Cypriot president in London.
Former colonial power Britain on Tuesday offered land within its two pockets of prime real estate in the south of the island. It does not include any British military facilities on the island, which includes a massive RAF base.
The offer is contingent on a long-elusive peace deal between Turkish and Greek Cypriots in reunification negotiations for more than a year. It was made to the United Nations, which is overseeing the peace talks.
"We have not discussed this among ourselves. Hence it is not possible to make an extensive assessment on the subject," said Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.
Greek Cypriots were lukewarm. "What Britain can do if it wants to effectively help this process is to exert influence and encourage Turkey to be more accomodating on the talks," said Markos Kyprianou, Cyprus's foreign minister.
Peace talks started between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides in September 2008.
Britain had been expected to make a gesture to aid the present talks and the offer came ahead of a scheduled Wednesday meeting between Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Demetris Christofias, the Cypriot president.
The bases offer had been made once before, in 2003, when the Cypriot sides were discussing a U.N. reunification blueprint.
Britain's territory on the island covers 98 square miles but only part is used for military purposes. Much is put to civilian use by Greek Cypriot farming communities.
There are army barracks at Dhekelia, in the south-east, and an RAF base at Akrotiri, in the south. Akrotiri is used to provide logistical support to forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Reuters Güncelleme Tarihi: 12 Kasım 2009, 12:46