Brexit and Cyprus
Nicosia and London have reassured each other that the everyday life of Britons living in Cyprus and Cypriots living in the UK will not be affected after Brexit, during a meeting which Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and UK High Commissioner Stephen Lillie had on Monday at the Presidential Palace.
In statements to the media after the meeting, Government Spokesman, Kyriakos Koushos, said that President Anastasiades and Ambassador Lillie discussed issues concerning Brexit that are related to Cyprus, as well as the Cypriot problem, adding that President Anastasiades reassured of his readiness for the resumption of the talks aiming to solve it.
Moreover, he said that they discussed about trade and bilateral relations between Cyprus and Britain, and that both sides underlined their intention to move on with their relations and have further cooperation.
Mr Koushos said that the British side assured that the everyday life of Cypriots living in the UK, and especially university students, will not be affected.
At the same time, he added that President Anastasiades underlined that the everyday life and the residence of UK citizens in Cyprus will not be affected.
As regards the Cyprus problem, he noted that Anastasiades briefed Lillie on his meeting on November 25, 2019, in Berlin with the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, and assured of his intention and readiness for the resumption of the negotiations aiming at the solution of the problem of Cyprus, divided since the Turkish invasion of the island in 1974.
On his part, Lillie said in statements after the meeting that he reassured President Anastasiades about their continuing commitment to a strong, wide-ranging, very deep relationship between Britain and Cyprus in the future, "a relationship which is based on shared values, shared history, membership of the Commonwealth, our large communities of Cypriots in the UK and Britons in Cyprus."
"I was very pleased that the President very much agreed with me with that. As he said we left the family of the EU but we remain closely connected and we do have so much in common and so much that we want to work together on in the future whether that`s of course on the most important issue for Cypriots, which is the reunification of the country but also on the big international challenges of this century, in particular the fight against the climate change," he noted.
Referring to Brexit, Lillie said that "we have opened a new chapter in the history of our country, a chapter in which we are free to be bold, self-confident, ambitious on the international stage, forging new partnerships around the world in support of the rules based the international system, in support of free and liberal trading but at the same time very much treasuring the connections and the relations and the shared interests that we have with our European friends."
The High Commissioner said that he talked with Anastasiades "about our citizens and I was very grateful about what the President said about his commitment to protecting the rights of our citizens here in Cyprus, ensuring continued access to healthcare and as he said very much as though they are still nationals of the EU."
He noted that he reassured the President "that we are doing exactly the same for Cypriot nationals in the UK. It is very easy for Cypriot nationals to register online and they have until the end of June next year to do that. And I think an issue that is very much on the minds of many Cypriots at the moment is about travel to the UK. I have reassured the President as I have reassured many people recently that you can continue to travel to the UK without a visa, without a passport, you can continue to travel with Cypriot ID card through the same channel at the airport."
And this just one of the things that we are doing to ensure that the relationship between Britain and Cyprus remains as strong as ever been, Lillie said.
"As I said to the President this year is sixty years of Cypriot independence. It is sixty years of relations between Britain and Cyprus as equals and this is a great moment in that 60th anniversary year and as we have left the EU it is a great chance to look forward and set a bold new vision for relations between our two countries," the UK High Commissioner said.