HC Deb 20 February 1985 vol 73 cc1018-9
2. Mr. Wilkinson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the recent diplomatic attempts to solve the Cyprus problem.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. Richard Luce)

We are disappointed that the outcome of the high level meeting between the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus was not more positive. We have consistently supported the efforts of the United Nations Secretary-General to seek a settlement of the Cyprus problem and will continue to do so. We share his view that at that time the gap between the two sides had narrowed significantly and welcome his intention to pursue his initiative. We have stressed the need to seize the opportunity he has created.

Mr. Wilkinson

During his recent visit to Ankara, did my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs make representations to General Evren and the Turkish Government that they use such good offices as they may have with Mr. Denktash to be as accommodating as possible and to try to seek a negotiated settlement in line with the United Nations' proposals?

Mr. Luce

Yes, my hon. Friend will be glad to know that my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary had a full discussion about Cyprus with the Turkish Government and both Governments agreed jointly that the dialogue between the parties concerned should continue and that every support should be given to the Secretary-General in his efforts.

Mr. James Lamond

Do the Government still hold firm to their decision not to recognise the so-called Turkish state in northern Cyprus?

Mr. Luce

Our position remains precisely the same.

Mr. Cyril D. Townsend

I share my hon. Friend's great disappointment about the collapse of the talks in New York. Is it not unhelpful for the Turkish authorities to be calling for elections on 23 June and to be saying that concessions so far offered are to be withdrawn? Is it not important that Britain should keep in touch with the other guarantor powers to support the Secretary-General's important initiative?

Mr. Luce

We believe that nothing should be done to undermine the efforts of the Secretary-General to get a reconciliation between the parties. In January the gap had narrowed considerably and we believe that the alleged proposals by Mr. Denktash to hold elections in June will not be helpful to that process.

We have kept in close touch with the other parties. The Foreign Secretary has been to Turkey to talk to the Government there and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has had three meetings with President Kyprianou in the past five months.

Mr. Healey

Is not the position of the Turkish Government central in this matter, because a programme for the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Cyprus is the main issue for the Greek community? What representations did the Foreign Secretary make on that subject? It is entirely within the scope of Turkey, an ally of Britain and one of the guarantor powers, to secure a programme for the withdrawal of Turkish troops as part of an ultimate settlement.

Mr. Luce

It is the British Government's clear view that the withdrawal of foreign troops, principally the 22,000 Turkish troops, should be part of a comprehensive package. That was discussed by the Foreign Secretary when he was in Turkey.

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