HC Deb 27 February 2001 vol 363 cc708-9
10. Mr. Andrew Love (Edmonton)

What progress has been made in the accession negotiations of Cyprus to the European Union; and if he will make a statement. [149711]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. Keith Vat)

Cyprus is making good progress in its accession negotiations with the European Union. It has provisionally closed 17 of the 31 chapters in the negotiations—more than any other candidate. I trust that Cyprus's current good performance on adoption and implementation of EU legislation will continue. I look forward to discussing this and other matters during my visit to Cyprus in 10 days' time.

Mr. Love

I thank my hon. Friend, and congratulate him on his forthcoming visit, which is indeed the only way in which he can find out about the problem of Cyprus.

In the light of the recent statement by the EU enlargement commissioner reaffirming that there will be no separate negotiations for the Turkish-Cypriot community and that it is an absolute fiction that it will ever be able to join with Turkey, will my hon. Friend take the opportunity provided by his visit to urge Turkish. Cypriot community leaders to enter into negotiations, so that both communities can be satisfied with the outcome when Cyprus joins the European community?

Mr. Vaz

My hon. Friend is right: we shall secure a just and lasting settlement of this agonisingly difficult problem only if all sides come together in the talks. That is why we support what has been done by Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and give wholehearted backing to Sir David Hannay as he tries to deal with the difficulties.

Our message to the Cypriot community in this country is that the Government will continue to take their responsibilities seriously, and will support the on-going process. As for EU membership, we look forward to Cyprus joining as quickly as possible. I know from the work that my hon. Friend and others on both sides of the House have done over the past few years that the community here would welcome an early accession for Cyprus. We hope that this will act as a spur to the solving of what is, as I have said, an agonisingly difficult problem.

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