The government of the Republic of Cyprus has filed an official protest over British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw's recent remarks on the island's accession to the EU. During his visit to the island on 25 January, Straw met with Mehmet Ali Talat, the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community in the north. According to the Greek Cypriot government, the British politician "created this confrontational climate" and he even "made it worse with his unprovoked remarks".
Back in London, Straw described the Greek Cypriot government's objections to his visit to the Turkish Cypriot community as "entirely counterproductive". In Straw's opinion, the Greek Cypriot government was seeking to "marginalise the Turkish Cypriot community and not in any way to assist in their economic development".
"Had EU membership been proposed under the current circumstances, neither the British Government nor most European governments would have touched the idea of allowing a divided Cyprus into the EU," Straw added.
He said that while Britain does not recognise the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), the approach of the Greek Cypriot government "does not in any way represent movement towards a united Cyprus and objectively is likely to lead to the opposite result".
Responding to Straw's remarks, TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talat said that he agreed with the British politician's assessment and added that the EU member states "accepted a non-European country [Cyprus] as a member and it was wrong".
A spokesman for the Greek Cypriot government denounced Straw's comments and said that "clearly Britain cannot be an objective mediator on the Cyprus issue. Britain no longer has the necessary credibility".