A new British High Commissioner steps in
A NEW British High Commissioner starts work in Cyprus on April 30, when Stephen Lillie takes the reins from outgoing incumbent Matthew Kidd.
Recently appointed Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in the 2017 Birthday Honours List, Mr Lillie has already been talking to Cypriots in Britain.
He met members of the Conservative Friends of Cyprus in the British Parliament last month, when chairman Jason Charambolous briefed him on “hopes of Cyprus-UK bilateral post-Brexit relations and the role of the sizeable British Cypriot community”.
MPs present included Theresa Villiers, Matthew Offord, Martin Vickers and Sheryll Murray.
Mr Lillie also joined a working dinner in London with the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK, headed by Christos Karaolis, a former barrister who is a member of the South Cyprus-linked Overseas Cypriots Advisory Committee, vice-president of the World Federation of Overseas Cypriots, a Greek Cypriot Brotherhood committee member and a founding member and honorary president of the global Young Cypriots association, Nepomak.
The High Commissioner-in-waiting also met pro-Turkish Cypriot parliamentarians.
Turkish Cypriot-origin peer Baroness Hussein-Ece said: “Mr Lillie contacted the All-Party Parliamentary Turkish Group and asked to meet us and we had a good meeting some weeks ago.”
She added: “He had not yet taken up his post and it is worth noting that he is the first High Commissioner to meet us in the UK.”
Mr Lillie, a married father of two, has spent the last year learning Greek, having mastered Mandarin Chinese early in his career after gaining an MA in modern languages at Oxford.
Director of the Asia Pacific Foreign and Commonwealth Office from 2013 to 2017, he spent the preceding four years as British ambassador in Manila, Philippines.
He began his career in 1988 in the Middle East Department, becoming Second and later First Secretary (economic and political) in Beijing from 1992 to 1995. Three yearlong postings followed as head of section in the European Union Department (Internal) and Hong Kong Department, and deputy head of the China Hong Kong Department.
Mr Lillie then served four years as consul-general in Guangzhou, moving on to New Delhi from 2003 to 2006 and heading the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Far Eastern Department from 2006 to 2009.
Stephen Lillie (left) with Euripides L Evriviades, the Greek Cypriots’ High Commissioner in the UK