HL Deb 01 February 2005 vol 669 cc29-30WA
Lord Maginnis of Drumglass

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What progress has been made during the nine months since the Turkish Cypriots voted to accept the Annan plan to end the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus's international isolation in respect of (a) direct flights and (b) direct exporting facilities; and what progress they have made to meet any undertakings given at the time of the referendum. [HL897]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

Following the referendum on both sides of the island on 24 April 2004, European Union Foreign Ministers expressed their determination to end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots at the General Affairs and External Relations Council on 26 April 2004. In July, the European Commission drew up proposals for two regulations on financial aid and direct trade to help achieve this. The Government support these proposals. It has not been possible to agree these regulations as yet, but we support the presidency in its efforts to obtain agreement on this package as soon as possible.

Direct flights to the north of Cyprus would of course contribute to ending this isolation. This is an immensely complex area and we are examining the issue with our lawyers.

Member states are currently also discussing amendments to the green line regulation (GLR), which provides for limited trade across the green line between north and south. We are in favour of expanding the scope of the GLR and hope the amendments will be agreed soon.