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Volume 455: debated on Wednesday 24 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will make it her policy to seek the establishment of a truth and reconciliation process in Cyprus by the EU or the Council of Europe. (116873)

The Government believe that a fair, viable and lasting solution to the Cyprus problem is most likely to be achieved through a UN-led settlement process fully supported by both communities. The Annan plan provided for an independent, impartial reconciliation committee to promote understanding, tolerance and mutual respect between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. Although the elements of any future plan will need to be agreed by both communities, it is likely that any comprehensive settlement would include a reconciliation process.

We welcome the agreement of the leaders of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities to the proposals put forward by the UN Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Ibrahim Gambari, on 15 November 2006. These are designed to lead to a resumption of comprehensive settlement negotiations. With other members of the UN Security Council, we have urged both sides now to now show the flexibility and courage required to grasp the opportunity which this agreement presents. We will continue to offer all support as necessary in the coming months.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the Turkish Cypriot decision to open Ledra Street in central Nicosia; if she will call on the Greek Cypriot Administration to demolish the wall on their territory without precondition; and if she will make a statement. (117076)

The UK welcomes all steps that help increase contact and trust between Greek and Turkish Cypriots. Opening a new crossing point at Ledra Street would have just such a beneficial effect. We welcome the Turkish Cypriot initiative to dismantle the bridge, and hope that this move will soon be followed by other practical steps leading to the full opening of the crossing point and fresh momentum in the search for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.