Britain has offered to give up half of the land occupied by its
sovereign military bases in Cyprus if the divided island's leaders can
seal a reunification deal.
Britain Offers Concessions to Push Cyprus Reunification
11 November 2009
an attempt to show they are serious about supporting a solution to the
protracted Cyprus problem, Britain has renewed an offer to cede about
half the territory of its bases in Cyprus.
In an interview with
VOA News, U.N. Spokesman Jose Diaz confirmed a letter had been sent to
the United Nations pledging to transfer 45 square miles if a Cyprus
settlement can be found.
"The special advisor of the secretary
general was informed by the United Kingdom," he said. "The main
condition is that there first has to be a settlement and it has to be
ratified - then the land will be handed over."
Minister Gordon Brown is expected to unveil the initiative to try and
kick-start the Cyprus peace process at a meeting with Cypriot President
Demetris Christofias at Downing Street.
The British sovereign
bases were retained in Cyprus after the proclamation of the independent
republic in 1960, some 4,000 troops and 7,000 dependents are live on
Speaking to VOA, Stuart Bardsley, the British Military spokesman in Cyprus outlined the function of the military bases.
we are talking approximately about 99 square miles, and its sovereign
base area which is land which is effectively governed by the UK and has
an on-island administration that acts on behalf of the Queen in
managing and governing that land," he said.
Christofias, who represents the Greek Cypriot community and Turkish
Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat have been locked in talks since late
2008, but so far little has been achieved.
negotiations opened last September and if successful, these peace
talks, could formally end the 35-year division of the island.
was split into a breakaway Turkish Cypriot north and an internationally
recognized Greek Cypriot south in 1974 when Turkey invaded in response
to a short-lived coup by supporters of union with Greece.
Turkey does not recognize the south.
The island joined the European Union in 2004, but only the Greek Cypriots enjoy membership benefits.
Neither side sees permanent partition as an option, but they are struggling to agree on how the island will be reunited.
The president also dismissed any notion of arbitration or strict timetables in the ongoing peace process.