HL Deb 05 July 1978 vol 394 cc983-5

2.51 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what conclusions were reached in the discussions between the Prime Minister and President Kyprianou of Cyprus.


My Lords, the Prime Minister and the President had a friendly and frank general exchange of views on the Cyprus problem. The Prime Minister made it clear—and the President warmly welcomed this—that Britain continues to be deeply concerned to see a just and rapid settlement.


My Lords, is it not now time for some new initiative four years after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus? Could my noble friend confirm the Press reports that in these talks there were two fundamental issues: partition or federation and demilitarisation of the Island? Is it not the case that the Turkish proposals involve partition of the Island, while the Greek Cypriots are urging federation with demilitarisation and a united police force under the United Nations? Will Her Majesty's Government give full support to those proposals?


My Lords, my noble friend has mentioned a number of conflicting proposals. The heart of the matter is for the two communities themselves to negotiate the terms of the settlement with which ultimately they will have to live. I think that I can say that we would be prepared, together with our partners, to accept anything which was acceptable to the two communities. We have made it clear that we are willing to help in any way which the parties would find useful, without ourselves intruding unduly to indicate what particular form of solution appeals to us.


My Lords, will the noble Lord remember that we, together with Turkey and Greece, have a special responsibility for the wellbeing of Cyprus? While we welcome his Answer to the original Question, is he aware that all Greek Cypriots and, indeed, many Turkish Cypriots want only the independence of Cyprus—not association with Greece or Turkey; but utter independence and the end of the occupation of part of Cyprus by a foreign Power?


My Lords, I think that I can best answer the two points raised by my noble and right honourable friend by saying that the Prime Minister agreed at his recent meeting with the President that the 1960 Cyprus Treaties remain valid, at least until they are changed by agreement. On the second point, Her Majesty's Government recognise only one Government in Cyprus, that of the Republic of Cyprus under President Kyprianou. That is the right way to underline our belief in the independence of Cyprus.


My Lords, may I ask an immediate question? Is my noble friend aware that President Kyprianou has been refused permission by the Turks to visit the Greek-Cypriot enclave in the Turkish area and has appealed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations for such permission? Will our Government give support to that request?


My Lords, without addressing myself to the detail of the particular case that my noble friend has raised, I can certainly give a general undertaking on behalf of the Government that we shall assist in every way possible to make access by members of either community more free and more possible in the future than it has been in the past. I would remind my noble friend that the Secretary-General, Doctor Waldheim, is currently examining the possibility of a new initiative to bring the two communities together to deal, among other things, with questions such as the one that my noble friend has just raised.