HC Deb 20 July 1983 vol 46 cc367-8
9. Mr. Tom Cox

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to visit Cyprus.

Mr. Whitney

My right hon. and learned Friend has no immediate plans to do so.

Mr. Cox

Is the Minister aware that today is the ninth anniversary of the brutal invasion of Cyprus by the Turkish army? Is he further aware that successive Governments have shown little involvement in trying to resolve the tragedy of that invasion?

In view of the lack of progress in the inter-communal talks, will the Minister urge his right hon. and learned Friend to change his attitude and try to bring the two sides together in meaningful discussion, working for the reunification of Cyprus?

Mr. Whitney

Of course we regret the slow progress in the inter-communal talks. However, any separate initiative now might cut across the efforts of the United Nations. The Government are ready to give any help to the United Nations, and to the two communities involved, that they would all consider helpful.

Mr. Jim Spicer

Because of the oppression of the Turkish Cypriot minority since 1961, is i: any wonder that they have decided to go it alone and declare an independent state? Is there nothing that we can do to bring the two communities together on equal terms, rather than continue to treat the Turkish-Cypriots as a minority?

Mr. Whitney

The declaration of an independent Turkish Cypriot state would ruin the prospects of the inter-communal talks. We hope that that can be avoided and that progress with the talks can be made under United Nations negotiations.

Mr. Corbett

Will the Minister urge his right hon. and learned Friend, on this ninth anniversary, to give high priority to fulfilling the Government's obligation, as a guarantor power, to the sovereign and territorial integrity of Cyprus? Will he seek the immediate withdrawal of the invading Turkish forces?

Mr. Whitney

The Government recognise their obligation in this difficult issue, but believe that the best way forward is through the inter-communal talks. We shall continue to support them while being alive to any other possible initiatives that may contribute to a settlement.

Mr. Rossi

Is my hon. Friend aware that the United Kingdom still enjoys considerable goodwill among both communities in Cyprus? Should we not be using that goodwill to help bring about a final and just solution in the interests of all the people of that unhappy island?

Mr. Whitney

I recognise the force of my hon. Friend's point. We shall use our position in any area that might be profitable and productive. Currently, the intercommunal talks offer the best hope, although the whole House recognises that they are disappointingly slow.

Mr. George Robertson

Does not Britain have a major responsibility for Cyprus? We cannot continue to pass the buck to the stalemated inter-communal talks. Is it not time for a major initiative by the Government, possibly by arranging an early visit to Britain by President Kyprianou? Should we not urge that progress be made in the talks so that we are not left in the same stalemated position for another nine years?

Mr. Whitney

President Kyprianou is due to visit London on 26 July. No doubt this important issue will feature on the agenda of our talks with him. I can only repeat that there is a limit to the influence of any power, including the British Government with their strong historical links with Cyprus. We shall continue to exert all our efforts to get the inter-communal talks moving.

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