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Northern Cyprus: Churches

Volume 464: debated on Wednesday 10 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when a senior official from the British high commission in Cyprus last visited the Greek Cypriot churches and cemeteries in the villages of Patriki and Ayios Theodoros in the Karpas Peninsula; what reports were made and to whom after the last such visit; if he will make it his policy for such a visit to be conducted on a regular basis and reports published; and if he will make a statement. (156209)

Our high commissioner in Nicosia last visited the Greek Cypriot community in the Karpas region on 22 June and reported to the Department. This included visiting the church in Ayios Theodoros and was part of a regular pattern of visits which supplement the UN's humanitarian and monitoring activity. Since the opening of the Green Line in April 2003, Greek Cypriots resident in the south have also been able to travel to the area.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what responsibilities the British Government have as one of the guarantor powers for Cyprus to seek to ensure the preservation of churches and cemeteries that belong to the Greek Cypriot community in northern Cyprus; and if he will make a statement. (156210)

The Treaty of Guarantee only relates to the independence, territorial integrity and security of the Republic of Cyprus. However, we do call on the Turkish Cypriots to show sensitivity to Greek Cypriot churches and cemeteries in the north of Cyprus. Our high commissioner in Nicosia visited the Karpas region on 22 June and raised such issues with his Turkish Cypriot interlocutors.