I would like to welcome the re-launch of talks aimed at resolving the long-standing Cyprus question. I welcome in particular the Joint Declaration of 11 February 2014 by the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders which lays a solid foundation for the negotiations. I would urge those involved in the talks to engage fully in the process and to work in a spirit of good faith, under the auspices of the United Nations. Ireland would support a solution that provides for a comprehensive settlement based on a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality, as set out in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
As the two leaders themselves acknowledged in their Joint Declaration, a settlement would have a positive impact on the entire region, while first and foremost benefiting Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots.
While the issue has not arisen at the EU Foreign Affairs Council, it has arisen at the level of EU Heads of State or Government.
The Taoiseach joined EU leaders in a strong statement of support for the talks at the European Council on 21st to 22nd March.
EU leaders welcomed the resumption of fully-fledged settlement negotiations based on the 11 February Joint Declaration. They expressed their support for a comprehensive and viable settlement of the Cyprus problem within the UN framework, in accordance with relevant UN Security Council resolutions and in line with the principles on which the European Union is founded.
The European Council underlined that the division of Cyprus has endured for too long and emphasised the importance of maintaining momentum.
The European Council made clear that it stands ready to play its part in supporting the negotiations.
Ireland will continue to join with our EU colleagues in offering our assistance in support of the negotiations and in support of a comprehensive settlement, in line with UN Security Council Resolutions and with EU principles.