HC Deb 17 December 1975 vol 902 cc1376-8
9. Mr. Terry Walker

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what new initiatives he is taking over the Cyprus problem.

Mr. James Callaghan

I discussed the Cyprus problem at length with the Greek and Turkish Foreign Ministers in the margin of the NATO Council meeting in Brussels last week, and also had talks with the American Secretary of State. In the course of these discussions certain proposals were agreed as a basis for the resumption of intercommunal talks between Mr. Clerides and Mr. Denktash. These talks will begin again in the new year and I am sure the House will wish them success.

Mr. Walker

I thank my right hon. Friend for his valuable work on Cyprus. Is he aware that many of us believe that unless the British Government take a new initiative in the new year a lasting peaceful solution to the Cyprus question will not be achieved?

Mr. Callaghan

I know my hon. Friend's view. This matter is kept constantly under review. I adhere to my view—and there is no disposition to quarrel with it among those who examined the problem—that the best progress will be achieved between the leaders of the Greek Cypriot community and the Turkish Cypriot community, with Dr. Waldheim also in attendance at the discussions. I believe that starting on that basis is the best way to achieve a lasting peace.

Mr. Bowden

Is the Foreign Secretary aware that a number of British citizens have suffered confiscation of their property and personal belongings, and considerable financial hardship? What steps has he taken to alleviate that hardship? Will he consider claims for compensation?

Mr. Callaghan

I am very much aware of it, and I wish that I could have done more. I regard this as one of the areas in which we have not been very successful. But we are continuing our efforts to persuade those whom we hold responsible for British losses in Cyprus—that is, the Government of Turkey and, to a lesser extent, the Government of the Republic of Cyprus—to institute compensation procedures. However, so far we have not been successful.