Foreign policy spokesmen for the big three UK political parties have issued video messages addressed to the populous British Cypriot community, in an attempt to win over the votes of up to 300,000 British citizens of Cypriot descent or Cypriot nationals who get to vote in the 12th December general election as Commonwealth citizens.
Christopher Pincher, Minister for Europe at Boris Johnson’s administration, has stressed in his message on behalf of the Conservative Party that he supports “a long-term solution of the divisions in Cyprus” through a bizonal bicommunal federation, “a solution that we can all buy into.”
Mr Pincher has also reiterated that his government and party “disagree” with Turkey’s drilling for hydrocarbons near the coast of Cyprus, adding that the Republic of Cyprus has the sovereign right to extract oil and gas in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) “for the benefit of all the people living on the island of Cyprus.”
He has made a special reference to the “harrowing” sense of visiting the “ghost town” of Varosha, expressing his hope for a settlement that will bring life back to that area.
Fabian Hamilton, Shadow Minister for Peace and Disarmament in Jeremy Corbyn’s front-bench team, has said that the Labour Party continues to seek an end to the Turkish occupation of Cyprus and the reunification of the island as a bizonal, bicommunal federation, “a normal and viable state.”
In his video message Mr Hamilton has decried the outdated guarantees system and the presence of foreign troops in Cyprus, he has reiterated the need for a just solution on the properties issue and the refugees’ right to reclaim theirs, as well as the necessity of dealing once and for all with the humanitarian issue of the missing people, with the “full cooperation” of all governments.
He has also welcomed the trilateral Berlin meeting on the 25th, he has expressed support for the resumption of negotiations from where they were left and has joined in the condemnation of Turkey’s drilling activity in the EEZ of the Republic of Cyprus.
Mr Hamilton has also referred to the Labour Party’s plan for a second referendum on Brexit, with him personally supporting Remain.
Brexit is the topic on which the Liberal Democrats spokesperson Chuka Umunna’s message has focused. He has described his party as the “largest and strongest” Remain party, stating unequivocally that he and his colleagues would support Remain in a second referendum.
The video messages have been communicated to the UK Cypriot community though the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK. The Federation’s President Christos Karaolis has urged all his compatriots to participate in this crucial election:
“The UK Cypriot community must make its voice heard during this election campaign and I urge everyone to ensure that they are registered to vote by midnight on Tuesday 26 November. The most important thing is that the community goes out and votes Thursday 12 December and urges their friends and family to do the same. I also encourage UK Cypriots to be active in the election campaign and support candidates who are friends of Cyprus and our community, for example by canvassing for them. There are candidates standing for election that have asked questions and spoken about Cyprus in Parliament; attended and supported our events; actively shown that they support a free, united Cyprus based upon a just and viable solution to the Cyprus issue; and have campaigned against the Turkish occupation.”/ibna