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Volume 982: debated on Tuesday 15 April 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he has any plans to visit British bases in Cyprus.

The Under-Secretary of State for Defence for the Royal Air Force
(Mr. Geoffrey Pattie)

My right hon. Friend has at present no plans to do so, but I plan to visit British bases in Cyprus during the last week in May. My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Army visited Cyprus last week.

I am delighted to hear of my hon. Friend's proposed visit to the bases. In view of the great value of the bases to this country and to NATO, can he assure the House that there are no plans in the foreseeable future for Britain to relinquish her sovereignty over the bases in Cyprus?

Will the Minister tell the House about the discussions between President Kyprianou and the Prime Minister recently about payment for facilities within the Republic used by our forces in the bases? How much was promised to Cyprus, or is that to remain a secret?

I understand that the matter is still to be discussed by the two Governments. The hon. Gentleman should put further questions to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister.

Did not the bases play a valuable part in staging the Commonwealth monitoring force to which tribute has just been paid? Is there not excellent co-operation between the Government of the Republic of Cyprus and the British authorities? Does not the situation in the eastern Mediterranean demand that the bases should remain British?

When the hon. Gentleman is in Cyprus will he commend the British forces working with the United Nations forces in Cyprus since they are playing a valuable part in keeping the peace?