HC Deb 12 February 1997 vol 290 cc330-1
9. Mr. Corbett

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent steps he has taken to help to achieve a settlement of the Cyprus problem. [13962]

Mr. David Davis

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave earlier.

Mr. Corbett

I welcome the present Foreign Secretary's visit to Cyprus, and that of the next Foreign Secretary, my right hon. Friend the Member for Livingston (Mr. Cook). Have the Government received reports of what in my recollection was a unique get-together of leaders of political parties from both Cypriot communities that took place recently in the former Ledra Palace hotel on the green line and, if so, what does the Minister make of it? Will he give the House a commitment that he will do all that he can to encourage contacts between politicians, teachers, doctors, lawyers, trade unionists, business people and others from both communities to try to change the climate in favour of a settlement of the Cyprus problem?

Mr. Davis

As I have said, we will do everything we can to promote any method of improving the situation and of devising a solution to the Cyprus problem. Of course, I will do everything possible along those lines. I hope, however, that the hon. Gentleman's assessment of Cyprus is more accurate than his domestic political forecasts.

Mr. Trimble

I agree with the Minister's earlier comment that the accession of Cyprus to the European Community would benefit the whole island. I hope that that is the basis on which accession takes place. Does he agree that matters would be improved immediately if the European Community stopped discriminating against northern Cyprus in trade matters? That creates the unfortunate impression that the Community is being manipulated in favour of one community in Cyprus, and that should end.

Mr. Davis

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his question. The problem is that what he terms discrimination arose from a court judgment, not from pressure of the sort that he describes. As such, there is little that can be done directly about it, but other measures can be designed to help.

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