HC Deb 11 May 1983 vol 42 cc773-4
9. Mr. Dubs

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether any further progress has been made towards a successful outcome to the intercommunal talks in Cyprus.

Mr. Hurd

The intercommunal talks went into recess on 14 April. There are no developments to report since my answer to the hon. Member for Wood Green (Mr. Race) on 13 April.

Mr Dubs

As the intercommunal talks have now been dragging on for years without any obvious signs of progress, does the Minister agree that, if there is to be an end to the troubles of that divided island, there must be a new initiative, which ought to come from the British Government as they are one of the guarantor powers of the Republic of Cyprus.

Mr. Hurd

The General Assembly of the United Nations has begun to discuss Cyprus again. We hope that that debate, and any words or actions by anyone, will help the United Nations intercommunal talks, because they, rather than separate initiatives, offer the best hope.

Mr. Jim Spicer

Does my right hon. Friend agree that a large share of the blame for the partition of the island and for the Turkish intervention lies with the complete failure of the British Government at that time to live up to their responsibilities as a guarantor power? Should we not take more positive action, either individually or through the European Community, because it is clear that nothing will happen through the United Nations?

Mr. Hurd

We have considered that possibility from time to time. It is not sensible to try to apportion the blame for the past. We are anxious to have practical progress and we are clear that although Mr. Gobbi and the secretary-general of the United Nations have not achieved results, they have made some progress. That is the best hope for the future.

Mr. Thomas Cox

Is the Minister aware of the recent attempts of the Turkish Administration to stop the lawfully-elected Greek Cypriot delegate attending the Council of Europe meeting? Will he watch closely the efforts of the junta in Ankara to stop people attending the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, outline clearly the position in Cyprus and tell the Council of Europe who is causing the delay in any meaningful progress in the intercommunal talks?

Mr. Hurd

I was in Strasbourg that day and I heard several accounts of what happened. This is clearly a matter for the Council of Europe and its assembly. During that meeting in Strasbourg the Greek and Turkish Foreign Ministers talked together, which is a hopeful sign.

Mr. George Robertson

The visit next week by the President of Cyprus would have provided an opportunity for a fresh initiative, or at least for some progress in the intercommunal talks. Since that visit has become a casualty of this panic run to the ballot box, however, what steps will be taken during the next four weeks to make progress with the talks?

Mr. Hurd

I have already answered that question. We are sorry that we must postpone President Kyprianou's visit and we hope that he will come here as soon as possible.

Mr. Graham

Will the Minister constantly bear in mind that the many thousands of Greek Cypriots who live in my constituency will continue to resent deeply the fact that they were deprived of their homes and their land by the Turkish invaders? Will the Minister assure the House that it will remain a constant high priority of the Government to bring pressure to bear wherever they can to reach a speedy and just settlement?

Mr. Hurd

That is a fair statement. One must choose one's instruments and the process that offers the best chance of success, and not dodge from one method to another.