HC Deb 28 November 1990 vol 181 cc851-2
1. Mr. Haynes

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made on the problem of Cyprus.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. Tristan Garel-Jones)

We want to see a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Cyprus problem. The United Nations Secretary-General's Initiative has our strong and active support. The secretary-general's special representative is continuing to pursue separate discussions with all parties to the dispute.

Mr. Haynes

As the Minister is a new boy at the Foreign Office, will he come with me to visit that beautiful island so that he can see its problems at first hand? Tragically, the island is divided and in the north there are foreign troops from the mainland of Turkey, and all sorts of armaments. We need to know where the people missing from the southern part of the island have gone. Therefore, will the Minister come with me to look round to see what we can do about those problems and sort them out once and for all?

Mr. Garel-Jones

Like most hon. Members, I would go to the ends of the earth with the hon. Member for Ashfield (Mr. Haynes). I agree that it is tragic that the island should be divided in that way and that there are several refugee and human rights problems. We think that the best way forward is by supporting the United Nations initiative, and that is what Her Majesty's Government are doing.

Sir Dudley Smith

I know that the Government believe in the rights of minorities, but will my hon. Friend address the problem more positively, because it has dragged on for many years? Is he aware that, but for the robust efforts of President Denktash in northern Cyprus, there would have been mayhem and bloodshed a long time ago?

Mr. Garel-Jones

I reject the proposition that the Government are not addressing the problem robustly. We have committed to the United Nations peacekeeping force 700 British troops, and that underlines the desire of Her Majesty's Government to bring about a peaceful and proper accord that unites the island.

Mr. Anderson

I congratulate Foreign Office Ministers on their apparent survival. The secretary-general's initiative seems effectively to be stalled, or even in retreat, following the recent decision of Mr. Denktash to delegate responsibility for contact with the United Nations to a deputy. Does the Minister appreciate the sense of frustration and impatience in Cyprus at the continued tragic division of that island? Has consideration been given to further initiatives to break the deadlock?

Mr. Garel-Jones

The hon. Gentleman has expressed the frustration that hon. Members on both sides of the House feel about the continued tragic division. We do not believe that the United Nations initiative has run out of steam. It continues to enjoy the full support of Her Majesty's Government.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Mark Lennox-Boyd)

With permission, Mr. Speaker, I shall answer Questions 2 and 6 together. [HON. MEMBERS: "Question 7."] Questions 2 and 6.

Mr. Speaker

Order. Question 6 is about Bulgaria.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I beg your pardon, Mr. Speaker. A question has been withdrawn and the numbering has not been changed.