HL Deb 30 January 1980 vol 404 cc843-5

2.53 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 whether they have been approached recently by the Government of Greece on the question of the settlement of the Cyprus dispute and if so what reply has been given.


My Lords, the Answer to the noble Lord's Question is that there has been no formal démarche or approach. However, the Government are in regular contact with the Governments of both Greece and Turkey, as well as with the parties themselves, about the Cyprus problem.


My Lords, will the noble Lord inform us whether the Government are ready to take an initiative now in trying to get the two parties to come together at the conference table?


My Lords, the Secretary-General of the United Nations is taking such an initiative and is trying to get the intercommunal talks restarted. The most helpful thing that interested parties can do is to support this initiative. The Government have told him and the parties that, together with our partners, we are ready to help in any way that they would find helpful.


My Lords, is the noble Lord aware that the settlement of the Cyprus-Turkey issue would please not only the friends of Cyprus and Turkey in this country, but would be a great contribution to the defence of democracy in view of what is happening in Afghanistan?


My Lords, I agree with the noble Lord.


My Lords, further to that, and in view of the abstention by the Government of Cyprus in the United Nations debate on Soviet aggression in Afghanistan and the condemnation of this aggression by the Islamic Conference, including Turkey, at Islamabad, do Her Majesty's Government not think that we should do all we can to maintain our friendship with the Islamic world?


My Lords, if the noble Lord is referring to our relations with Turkey, we accept that the importance of Turkey has been particularly reinforced in recent days and weeks and we will do what we can to help.


My Lords, in view of my noble friend the Foreign Secretary demonstrating considerable expertise in diplomatic skills, is it not now time, after six years, that he could probably achieve a great deal in the Cyprus problem which would make a lot of difference in the whole world?


I think that I can only repeat what I said earlier. We think that the right course for us at the moment is to give what support and help we can to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.


My Lords, are the Government aware of the projected move to take people from the Turkish mainland into the empty hotels and apartments of Famagusta and the influence that this has on the rejection of continued negotia- tions between the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots?


My Lords, we have heard those reports but the Government have no information to confirm or deny that the status quo in Varosha is to be altered. We have made it clear to those concerned that any action which could harm the United Nations' efforts to reconvene the negotiations should be avoided.