British High Commissioner to Cyprus Irfan Siddiq, expressed on Friday the full support of the UK government to the Cypriot President's initiative for the resumption of negotiations for a solution in Cyprus, after his first meeting with President Nikos Christodoulides at the Presidential Palace. In statements to journalists after the meeting, Siddiq said that he congratulated Christodoulides on the assumption of his duties and said that he was very much looking forward, as the whole of the British government was to continuing to work with him to build constructive relations. The High Commissioner said that they talked about the two countries' bilateral relations which were very strong and growing and their interest and desire to see them grow even more. They also talked, as he noted, about the need to move from the strategic cooperation agreement the two countries signed last November, on to more practical ways to improve the relationship. He also said that they spent a lot of time talking about the Cyprus problem and the President's desire to relaunch negotiations with urgency, to come to the table and agree a settlement of the Cyprus issue. 'I expressed the UK government's full support for his initiative and we agreed to work together to try to make progress on this and to work to bring the other side, the Turkish Cypriot, Turkey, back to the table for our common aim for a settlement on the basis of all the UN parameters, of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with full political equality,' he said. Siddiq added that "it is going to be a little bit challenging, because the other side is in a different place, but I think that we' re all convinced that we can work together in a creative and energetic way to try to bring the other side back to the table and make progress on this vital issue.' Asked whether the UK will take any specific initiative towards the goal of the resumption of negotiations, the High Commissioner said that the UK will do everything possible to support the efforts of the parties and the efforts of the President in this regard. He added that he didn't think that the UK should be dictating, imposing or suggesting things that are not the things that the parties want and that they will do everything they can to support the initiatives of the President. Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.
Source: Cyprus News Agency