LEFKOSA, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

British foreign secretary Friday congratulated the Turkish Cypriot president over his victory in the recent presidential elections. 

Leaving behind controversies, it is time for meaningful negotiations seeking a solution in Cyprus, Ersin Tatar told Dominic Raab in a telephonic conversation, according to a presidential statement.

Tatar told Raab the Turkish Cypriot people authorized him through their vote to cooperate and work with the Greek Cypriot administration on the principle of two sovereign states seeking solutions to their problems.

Tatar also pointed out that the outdated and unfair restrictions imposed on the Turkish Cypriots should be lifted, noting that the restrictions imposed, especially in the field of direct flights and sports, are contrary to basic human rights and freedoms.

The president noted that the opening of Maras is in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions and international law.

Secretary Raab said Britain is ready to help find a lasting solution to problems in the region.

The abandoned town of Maras in the Turkish Cypriot city of Gazimagusa partially reopened for public use on Oct. 8.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island’s Turks and Ankara’s intervention as a guarantor power.

It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including a failed 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkey, Greece and the UK.

*Writing by Merve Berker

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