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Cyprus: Direct Flights

Volume 688: debated on Monday 8 January 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answers by Lord Triesman on 4 December (WA 92–3), what are the legal obstacles to direct flights to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus that cannot be overcome without the co-operation of the Greek Cypriot Administration in the south of the island; what is the legal authority for this opinion; and whether the human rights of Turkish Cypriots have been considered. [HL728]

The simplest way of enabling direct flights would be a decision by the Republic of Cyprus to designate Ercan as an international airport under the terms of the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation. In the absence of such a decision there are legal obstacles. The Government do not intend to pursue a policy which would be in contravention of international law. An application for a licence is under consideration by the Department for Transport and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.

The UK and its EU partners remain committed to lifting the economic isolation of the Turkish Cypriots through targeted financial aid and trade liberalisation.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answers by Lord Triesman on 4 December (WA 92–3), whether there are any embargos between other nations or traditions in the European Union comparable to that of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Greek Cypriot Administration on direct flights to the former. [HL729]

The status of the divided island of Cyprus is unique within the EU and as such creates an unparalleled situation with regard to direct flights. There are no direct flights between Northern Cyprus and any EU member states. The Government fully support the work of the EU towards lifting the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots. We welcome the ongoing implementation of the financial aid regulation and support further progress on trade liberalisation. However, a full solution to the difficulties faced by the Turkish Cypriots can be achieved only through a comprehensive settlement facilitated by the UN. We would echo the call of the UN Secretary-General in his latest report to the Security Council, as well as the statement of the Finnish EU presidency on 11 December, in urging the two communities to engage in discussions under UN auspices to achieve a resumption of negotiations for a comprehensive settlement as early as possible in 2007.