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09-06-2020 19:45

Address by the President of the Republic, Mr Nicos Anastasiades, on the agreement with the United Kingdom concerning the development in the British Bases

I am very glad and particularly gratified to welcome you to the Presidential Palace on the signing ceremony and entry into force of an agreement that concerns the development of the non – military areas within the British Bases.

I consider this day a historic one for the inhabitants and property owners in the territory controlled by the British Authorities, as well as a tangible proof of the excellent relations between the Republic of Cyprus and the United Kingdom.

Following 60 years of consultations and as a result of the determination of the Governments of the two countries, the Agreement reached on 15 January 2014 between the then Prime Minister David Cameron and myself is today being implemented.

The Agreement provides for a substantial review of the ownership status of properties, with full restoration of the rights of the inhabitants and the owners of real estate.

In short, amongst other things:

1. A very large percentage of the territory within the British Bases is made available by becoming part of Development Zones. To be more specific, 1800 hectares of land (about 860 hectares in the Akrotiri area and 930 hectares in the Dhekelia area) are included in Development Zones.

 2. Everything that applies to the rest of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus in relation to the acquisition and development of property by Cypriots, Europeans and third country citizens shall apply, ensuring that the rights of the inhabitants and property owners inside the British Bases are equal to those of the rest of the population of the Republic.

 3. Beyond the housing, tourist, commercial and industrial development, large scale developments will be allowed, such as:

(i) Various types of Educational Institutions (Schools of Secondary Education, Regional Educational Institutions, Tertiary Education Institutions)

(ii) Theme Parks and Multiple Sports and Recreation Centres.

(iii) Specialised Clinics or Hospitals, Rehabilitation Clinics and other related medical centres.

4. It may also be possible for licences to be approved outside the designated Development Zones, under specific requirements, for smaller scale developments, such as:

(a) Petrol Stations

(b) Restaurants

(c) Reception Halls

(d) Special Type Developments.

Dear Friends,

I have to concede that the whole procedure of implementing the Agreement may have been time consuming, from its signing to the present, but all must bear in mind that it was a complex process, with quite a few particularities that had to be effectively addressed.

What I would like to stress is the resulting positive outcome, financial and beyond, for the inhabitants of the Base areas, and also the fact that this Agreement is the biggest change of land use and various development zones inside the Bases ever since the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus.

Guided by the above, with hard work and constructive cooperation between the Republic of Cyprus and the United Kingdom, it has been possible to overcome any obstacles that arose by finding mutually beneficial solutions, having always as first priority the prosperity and the prospects opening up for the inhabitants and owners of property in the British Bases.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Environmental Impact Strategic Study, together with the Development Plan, which also includes the relevant Town Planning Maps will, as of tomorrow, be posted on the Websites of the Town Planning and Housing Department.

On the basis of the existing legislation, a public consultation of 35 days duration will follow, during which all those concerned would be able to submit to the Environment Department observations or and objections related to the content of the Strategic Study.

The Policy Statement of the British Bases, a copy of which was handed to me a short while ago by the British High Commissioner, determines the Town Planning Zones and Land Uses, while introducing clear provisions and policies that govern the location of all types of development in the Bases, such as housing, tourism, commercial, industrial and others that I have already mentioned.

Dear Friends,

The implementation of the Agreement opens up important perspectives for economic development and activity for the inhabitants of the British Bases and the economy at large, especially in an admittedly difficult financial period, as shown as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

It also demonstrates the excellent level of bilateral relations between the Republic of Cyprus and the United Kingdom, which are based on strong historical bonds, both on the bilateral level and that of the two peoples.

These relations have been enhanced and considerably widened in recent years with the two countries working closely and effectively together on a wide range of issues on a bilateral, European and international level, without forgetting the close relationship being forged as partners in the Commonwealth.

At this point, I would like once again to reiterate the determination of the Republic of Cyprus to continue its close cooperation with the United Kingdom after Britain’s exit from the European Union.

As I had said in 2014, I am in no doubt that the implementation of the Agreement for the non-military development in the British Bases constitutes a qualitative and at the same time essential step in our relations with Great Britain, as 60 and more years after the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus a final arrangement is reached for the development inside the boundaries of the British Bases.

In concluding, I should like to express my warm thanks to the Government of the United Kingdom, the Foreign Ministry that gave continuous priority to the realization of the said Agreement, as well as to the other Ministries and involved parties of the two States, all having worked untiringly and earnestly in order to put into effect the Development Plan.

Thank you.

( DC )