Cyprus President welcomes Brexit deals, says protecting rights of Cypriots

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-16 03:25:30|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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NICOSIA, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- Cyprus is pleased with the Brexit agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union, President Nicos Anastasiades said on Thursday.

In a written statement after the release of the agreement, Anastasiades said it secures continuation of the acquis communautaire within the boundaries of the British Bases in Cyprus, which are legally considered to be British soil.

Cyprus, along with Gibraltar and Northern Ireland, was singled out in the Withdrawal Agreement because different arrangements are provided for their population or part of their population.

"I express my satisfaction over the fact that the withdrawal agreement will allow the smooth and orderly withdrawal of the UK from the EU, offering the necessary legal assurance to the European citizens and enterprises," Anastasiades said.

"The Republic of Cyprus, which maintains close historical, economic and social ties with the UK, wishes the closest possible relationship to the benefit of the two countries, and will strive within the (European) Council in this direction", he added.

He said that the protocol attached to the Brexit deal on the British Bases in Cyprus was the result of many months of negotiations between Cyprus, which was assisted by the European Union, and the United Kingdom.

Britain has two bases on Cyprus, comprising 254 square kilometers, or 3 percent of the island's territory, one of them being an important air base providing support for NATO military operations as far as Afghanistan.

About 11,000 people, most of them Greek Cypriots, live and work within the boundaries of the bases and several hundred others are employed by the bases administration.

"I am absolutely convinced that through arrangements agreed on in principle, the new Protocol will fully safeguard the legal rights and interests of the Cypriot and European citizens living and working in the British Bases, as well as those of the Republic of Cyprus itself..." Anastasiades concluded.

Britain's High Commissioner (ambassador) in Cyprus, Stephen Lillie said the agreement protects the rights of Britons in Cyprus and all over Europe.

In remarks to journalists, he said that "after Brexit they will continue to live and work and access public services, health services, just like they do now."

He also said that nothing will change for the 11,000 people living in the British bases on Cyprus, as their rights and interests are protected by the Brexit deal.