Ex-UK FM Jack Straw urges acceptance of Cyprus division

Greek-Cypriot and Turkish Republic of NorthernCyprus should be allowed to develop their relationship, says British former Foreign Secretary

Ex-UK FM Jack Straw urges acceptance of Cyprus division

World Bulletin/News Desk

 Britain's former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has called on the international community to accept the division in Cyprus and insisted Turkey deserves full membership of the European Union.

In an interview with Anadolu Agency in London on Tuesday, Straw said the division between the Greek-Cypriot Administration and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus should be accepted as a "reality".

He said: "If it had been possible for there to be a happy, united island, well, that would be the best solution, with a bi-zonal, bi-communal constitution. But the majority of people living on the island in the Greek-Cypriot part don't want to accept that."

Straw explained: "I go back to the referendum that was held almost 10 years ago. I know quite a lot about what happened in the last set of negotiations and they have been frozen not because, in my view, of the fault of the Turkish Cypriots."

"So my view is the international community should accept the reality that there is division and that you have partition. And then these two rather small nations would be able to develop their own relationship and I think it would be a cleaner system," he added.

'Paradoxical position'

The dispute between the two sides has led to the slowing-down of Turkey's process of accession to the EU.

Straw was asked whether he thought it was contradictory that Britain on one hand supports Turkey's EU membership, while on the other it appears to want to leave the bloc.

 "It is very paradoxical. I want us to stay in the EU. All three main (U.K.) parties, the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Labour Party are fully committed to Turkey becoming a full member of the EU," Straw also said.

"At the same time, there is a lot of debate in part of the democratic system here about whether the U.K. should leave the EU. If it were a referendum, I think the majority of people in this country would want to stay inside," he added.

Straw is scheduled to meet Turkish officials next week during the Tatli Dil Forum, an annual meeting which was inaugurated between the governments of Britain and Turkey by their respective prime ministers in 2011.

The event will bring together senior figures from politics and business world as well as scholars and artists.

Straw has been the Member of Parliament for Blackburn since 1979 and served in the Cabinet from 1997 to 2010 under the governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. 

In 2004, Cypriots went to the polls to decide on the so-called ‘Annan Plan’, which was a UN proposal to resolve the dispute by restructuring the island as a ‘United Republic of Cyprus.’ In effect, it proposed a federation of two states that aimed to unify the Turkish and Greek Cypriot communities.

The proposal was revised five times before it was put to a referendum in April 2004 and was supported by 65% of Turkish Cypriots. However, only 24% of Greek Cypriots backed the plan, claiming that the proposal favored Turkish Cypriots, so the stalemate continued.

Negotiations between Turkish and Greek Cypriots resumed after a two-year pause in Feb. 2013.

The previous round of talks collapsed partly because of the Eurozone debt crisis impact on the government in Nicosia.However, the Greek Cypriot administration suspended the most recent talks on Oct. 7 after Turkey sent a ship to monitor an oil-and-gas exploration mission off the Cyprus coast.

 

Last Mod: 25 Kasım 2014, 17:59
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