HC Deb 12 April 1989 vol 150 c899
9. Mr. Nicholas Bennett

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on Britain's financial contribution towards the United Nations peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).

Mrs. Chalker

Britain's contribution towards the cost of the United Nations force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) in the financial year 1989–90 is estimated at £22.87 million, net of recoveries.

Mr. Bennett

Can my right hon. Friend confirm that the United Kingdom is the only member of the Security Council that pays its dues in full? What action is being taken by the United Kingdom to press the other countries to make their full payments towards this force?

Mrs. Chalker

Indeed we have been paying our full amounts towards this force. The account is in deficit by some $167 million, as my hon. Friend knows, but the United Kingdom is not in deficit. We have absorbed all our own costs since 1964, and we have encouraged all other nations to contribute fully. I hope very much that many other states, including France and the Soviet Union, will stop resisting the change from voluntary contributions to assessed contributions. That would go a long way towards solving the problem.

Mr. Cyril D. Townsend

Will my right hon. Friend take the opportunity to pay tribute to the British soldiers who have served with that force over many years? Is it true to say that we carry the bulk of the administrative burden, not only of the United Nations force in Cyprus but of the peacekeeping force in Lebanon? Can he confirm that we supply the biggest element of that force in Cyprus, and, but for its presence, the number of deaths on both sides of the green line might have been considerably greater over the years?

Mrs. Chalker

Indeed, I am delighted to join my hon. Friend in paying tribute to the whole British contingent —currently 741 officers and men, or about one third of the total force—who have worked extremely hard. They bring a very special balance to a very difficult situation, and they continue to give absolutely first-class assistance in this very difficult area. We only hope that the negotiations towards resolving the problems of Cyprus will soon again proceed smoothly, and we wish both sides well in their efforts to find a solution that is acceptable to all.