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Volume 81: debated on Tuesday 18 June 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent talks he has had about the reunification of Cyprus.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
(Mr. Tim Renton)

We keep in close and frequent touch with the United Nations Secretary-General and the parties concerned with a view to assisting progress towards a settlement in Cyprus.

Will the Minister make a declaration that he will do something about the re-unification of Cyprus? An assembly has been established in the occupied section, but is it not time that something was done to alleviate the 11 years of suffering of those who have been exiled from their area of Cyprus? Is it not time that the Government took a different line and implemented different action to put more pressure on the United Nations to ensure that the troops are withdrawn from the occupied section so that people can return to their homes, land and country?

I must emphasise that we have never recognised the Turkish republic of northern Cyprus. We do not recognise any of the so-called constitutional developments that have taken place in recent weeks. I hope that the way is now clear for the Secretary-General of the United Nations to resume his initiative, which we have supported strongly in recent months. It will be necessary for all sides to show some degree of flexibility for the initiative to succeed.

If talks on re-unification do not succeed, do not the people of northern Cyprus have an ultimate right to self-determination, which we should recognise?

Our aim is to achieve a unified, federal and prosperous Cyprus. That is also the aim of the Secretary-General. I think that both sides should show some degree of flexibility to enable the Secretary-General to get under way with his initiative.

When discussions have taken place, have the 1,600 missing persons featured in them? Is the Minister aware that 1,600 Greek Cypriots are missing from their families and loved ones, and what do the Government intend to do about it?

There have been frequent discussions in recent months between my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister, both with President Kyprianou and the Turkish Foreign Minister. Most recently, my right hon. and learned Friend met the Turkish Foreign Minister during the North Atlantic Council meeting in Lisbon on 6 June. The main purpose of the discussions was to press on both sides the need to move towards a solution in Cyprus that would bring about a united island. If the hon. Gentleman would like to raise particular issues about the missing Greek Cypriots, perhaps he will write to me about them. If he does so, I shall see that they are pursued.

Does the hon. Gentleman accept that a continuation of the present uneasy stalemate in Cyprus is in no one's interest? Therefore, will he go on using every possible endeavour to get both sides to accept the United Nations initiative to get negotiations going again so that we may have some progress in this matter?

Yes, I wholeheartedly agree, and the Secretary-General earlier this year created an important opening. It is up to all sides to see that that opening is made use of.