Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was leaving Switzerland on Wednesday before Cyprus peace talks officially opened to fly home for a parliamentary session, officials said. Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders were due to meet shortly in the Swiss Alpine resort of Crans-Montana, joined by UN envoy Espen Barth Eide, senior European Union officials and the foreign ministers of Britain, Greece and Turkey.
But Johnson left on Wednesday morning after taking part in preliminary meetings on Cyprus and a working dinner on Tuesday night, a British spokeswoman and UN spokesman said. The foreign ministers of the other two guarantor powers, Greece and Turkey, were staying for the summit.
UN spokesman Aleem Siddique said on Wednesday: “The UK remains represented at the conference and we expect ministerial representation at some point in the proceedings.” Cyprus was split in a Turkish invasion in 1974, triggered by a brief Greek-inspired coup. The negotiations on the long-running conflict are the best chance, but maybe not the last chance, to get an agreement, Eide told reporters on Tuesday.