A reunified Cyprus could achieve even greater things as a country, as could our bilateral relationship, new UK High Commissioner Stephen Lillie said on Friday, adding that his country will support the process for a Cyprus settlement, “which is our duty as a guarantor power and permanent member of the Security Council, but which is even more so our wish as a friend of the Cypriot people.”
Presenting his credentials to President Nicos Anastasiades, Lillie noted that “the British Government and I personally as High Commissioner will continue to support a just, democratic and lasting solution to the Cyprus issue.”
The High Commissioner added that “as we leave the EU, the British High Commission will work to build an even wider and deeper relationship between Britain and Cyprus: a relationship founded on shared values as liberal free-trading democracies and the rule of law, shared membership of the Commonwealth, shared institutional links and the common law system, and of course the wealth of personal connections between our citizens.”
Referring to UK-Cyprus relations, Lillie said “we enjoy a wealth of cultural, economic and institutional ties. All of this provides a firm foundation for further expanding our relations across a whole range of areas: trade, finance and investment; tourism; education and science; law enforcement; public sector and economic reform; foreign and defence policy.”
Anastasiades said that “during the last five years, our relationship has indeed entered a new phase,” adding that “we are now entering an important period in the modern history of the United Kingdom, during which its future relationship with the EU will take shape,” and expressed his sincere commitment “to continue working closely with [the British] government towards ensuring that our two countries forge a further dynamic and constantly growing bilateral relation.
“It is with deep regret that we will lose such a close and valued partner within the European Union, but we fully respect the will of the British people,” he added, while referring to the ongoing discussions between Cyprus and the UK on the British bases within the context of the wider Brexit negotiations. He stressed that “we look forward to concluding them in time. We would highly appreciate your support in order to maintain the bases in the EU customs territory and ensure that the rights and interests of EU citizens residing and/or working in the bases are safeguarded,” he added.
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