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Volume 888: debated on Wednesday 12 March 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what further steps he is taking to assist bringing about a peaceful solution to the Turkish/Cypriot situation ; and if he will make a statement.

The situation in Cyprus continues to cause much concern. We are playing an active part in the Security Council's deliberations in New York, which I hope will result in the renewal of the intercommunal talks. A statement on Cyprus was made yesterday by the European Community meeting in Dublin, and last week I had conversations with the American Secretary of State, who is undertaking discussions on Cyprus also during his present Middle East visit.

I thank the Foreign Secretary for that reply. I think he will agree that there is a danger of further military engagements so long as the present situation continues. What is the risk to Nicosia Airport at present, and what is the Government's intention in regard to the base at Dhekelia?

The assurance of the future of Nicosia Airport is one of the issues which we have pressed Mr. Clerides and Mr. Denktash to undertake. If we can get the intercommunal talks resumed, we have asked them to give the matter a high priority. As regards Dhekelia, our position has been made clear a number of times. It is not part.of the Republic of Cyprus. It is a sovereign base.

We are glad that there is the prospect of further progress for discussions. However, will the right hon. Gentleman do all he can to help British residents and British wives of Greek Cypriot citizens, who are suffering considerable hardship?

I feel that the position of former British residents is extremely unsatisfactory in many ways. We have tried to find a number of openings to pursue, but so far we have not been very successful. I am open to any suggestion from any hon. Member or others as to how we can follow up the matter.