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Greece summons British ambassador to complain over Britain-Turkey agreement October 25, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Occupied.
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Greece summoned Britain’s Ambassador in Athens to the Foreign Ministry Thursday to complain over part of an agreement signed between Britain and Turkey concerning the northern area of the Republic of Cyprus.

The strategic partnership agreement, announced Tuesday during a visit to London by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, included a reference to northern Turkish-occupied and military controlled Cyprus as the “TRNC,” which stands for the self-proclaimed and so-called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The breakaway state in the north of the divided island is recognized only by Ankara.

British Ambassador Simon Gass was summoned over the agreement, in which Britain also pledges to work toward “ending isolation of the Turkish Cypriots” in the Cyprus’ Turkish occupied north.

“It is unwise to take such actions at such a crucial time, before the resumption of talks aiming to find a solution” to the division of Cyprus, a Foreign Ministry official said. The complaint was both about the wording referring to the north and the “whole spirit of the strategic partnership,” the official said.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded following a failed coup by supporters of uniting the island with Greece. The island remains split between an internationally recognized Republic in the Greek Cypriot south and the breakaway state in the Turkish Cypriot north. Talks to resolve the division have been stalled since 2004, when Greek Cypriots rejected a U.N.-backed plan in a referendum.

The Cypriot government in the south slammed the agreement between London and Ankara. “Great Britain is siding with the policies of Turkey on the Cyprus issue … with such actions the prospect of reaching a settlement based on U.N. Security Council resolutions becomes even more difficult,” government spokesman Vassilis Palmas said Wednesday.

Britain’s High Commissioner in Cyprus, Peter Millet, insisted London’s policy toward northern Cyprus was unchanged. “Our policy on the non-recognition of the so-called ‘TRNC’ is unchanged,” he said in a statement Wednesday. “We do not and will not recognize a separate entity in the northern part of Cyprus. Nor does anything in the document reflect an attempt to upgrade the status of the north or promote partition.”

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