Britian renews land offer for 'reunified Cyprus'

The 2003 British offer had been incorporated into a United Nations blueprint, Greek Cypriots rejected, in a 2004 referendum.

Britian renews land offer for 'reunified Cyprus'

Britain has offered to hand over almost half of its sovereign territory in Cyprus to facilitate a peace deal between the island's estranged Turkish and Greek Cypriots, the United Nations said Tuesday.

The offer is similar to one made in 2003 and would be conditional on a peace deal between the two sides. Britain has a strategically-located air base on the Mediterranean island, which would not be part of any deal.

"The Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Cyprus, Alexander Downer, has just been informed that the United Kingdom is renewing an offer to the United Nations to cede a portion of its territory in the Sovereign Base Areas (SBAs) to a reunified Cyprus," the U.N. said in a statement.

"I believe it is an offer to be welcomed as a tangible demonstration of the goodwill and support of the international community to the two leaders in Cyprus in their efforts to reunify the country," Jose Diaz, the United Nations spokesman in Cyprus told Reuters.

Britain left Cyprus in 1960, but retained two strategic pockets of territory -- on prime undeveloped real estate -- which account for about 3.0 percent of the island's territory.

The offer would be for a handover of 45 square miles, just under half of the 98 square miles (254 sq km) that Britain now controls, the U.N. said.

Turkish and Greek Cypriots are attempting to find a power-sharing formula under a federal system, and settling property disputes from years of partition.

The 2003 British offer had been incorporated into a United Nations blueprint, Greek Cypriots rejected, in a 2004 referendum.

On the basis of the 2003 offer, most of the territory Britain would have relinquished would have gone to Greek Cypriots in the south of the island.

Only part of the British territory in Cyprus is used exclusively for military purposes. It includes a large number of Greek Cypriot farming communities living under British civilian administration.

The ratio of land ownership within the British bases is 60 percent privately owned, 20 percent is Crown land and 20 percent is owned by the British Ministry of Defense.

Britain's RAF Akrotiri air base has been used in the past as a supply post for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan occupations.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was scheduled to meet Cypriot President Demetris Christofias in London Wednesday.


Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 11 Kasım 2009, 13:48
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