President Tatar has working dinner with top British diplomats Lillie and Sharma

Ersin Tatar, the President of the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (TRNC) has met with British High Commissioner Stephen Lillie and senior British diplomat Ajay Sharma.

The three men came together for a working dinner on Thursday evening, 21 January, to discuss the UK’s bilateral relations with North Cyprus, according to a statement from the TRNC Presidency. They also discussed the prospective UN-hosted summit involving the two Cypriot sides and the three Guarantor Powers (Britain, Turkey and Greece), which is expected to take place in the next few months.

President Tatar took the opportunity to share his vision for Turkish Cypriots and North Cyprus in the light of the realities on the island and the region.

The Turkish Cypriot leader stressed the need for a “just, realistic and sustainable reconciliation in Cyprus”, which he stated was only possible through greater co-operation and a relationship between the two sides based on “sovereign equality” and the “equal international status” of the two states on the island.

Also at the dinner were President Tatar’s Special Representative M. Ergün Olgun, TRNC MP and Turkish Cypriot Negotiating Committee Member Oğuzhan Hasipoğlu, and the TRNC Presidency’s Senior Political Affairs Officer Ayşe Balcıoğlu.

Stephen Lillie took up his role as High Commissioner to Cyprus in April 2018. He has previously served in Beijing and Delhi, and was the UK ambassador to the Philippines (2009-13).

Ajay Sharma is the UK’s former ambassador to Qatar (2015-2020). The Indian-origin diplomat has previously served in Tehran, Paris and Ankara. He is now back at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.


Main photo, top, shows (left to right) British diplomat Ajay Sharma, TRNC President Ersin Tatar, and British High Commissioner to Cyprus Stephen Lillie