HC Deb 25 January 1978 vol 942 cc1364-5
5. Mr. Townsend

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent information he has on the position of British hotels in the North of Cyprus pending a settlement between the Turkish authorities and the British owners.

Mr. Judd

In commercial cases such as this, the British High Commission in Nicosia forwards claims, and makes representations, whenever requested to do so by British holders of rights in an undertaking. It will, of course, continue to do this. But these cases need to be considered individually and some companies prefer to deal direct with the Turkish Cypriots.

Mr. Townsend

Does the Minister appreciate that prior to the forthcoming ruling of the House of Lords and/or a settlement of the Cyprus problem British hotel owners, travellers and tourists are in a difficult position? Can he assure the House that the Government accept that they have a responsibility to give regular information to those most concerned and to protect British interests?

Mr. Judd

I assure the House that we shall always do our best to answer any queries from whatever quarter. Consular services are available to all three in Cyprus from whatever part of the island they come.

Mr. Colin Jackson

Does my hon. Friend agree that the possession of British hotels in Cyprus—I am referring in particular to New Famagusta—is intimately linked to a political settlement'? Does he further agree that it is not enough for hotel keepers to settle the problem themselves because without a moving back of the Greek citizens to New Famagusta there will be no political settlement?

Mr. Judd

My hon. Friend is right. This can be seen as a symptom of the underlying political problem. We are determined to do everything we can to support those who are seeking a political solution.

Mr. Emery

When he considers the aspect of British property in Cyprus, will the Minister realise that many house owners who have homes in the north of the island have had their houses pillaged and are not allowed to go to the island to see the situation for themselves? Does he agree that it is not enough to approach the authorities individually unless his Department takes action to support individual property owners?

Mr. Judd

I am glad to be able to assure the hon. Member and the House that a senior official visited Cyprus last month to have further discussions with the Turkish Cypriot authorities. He was told that a claims commission would be set up towards the end of the month. The chairman has already been named and members will be appointed shortly. The High Commissioner is pursuing the matter vigorously.

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