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Volume 689: debated on Monday 5 February 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether their refusal to allow direct flights from the United Kingdom to Northern Cyprus is based on political or legal considerations; and what is being done in respect of the European Union assurance to end the isolation of Northern Cyprus. [HL1642]

The Government continue to review the legal position in respect of direct flights to Northern Cyprus. The UK does not intend to take action that would be in contravention of international law.

The UK and its EU partners remain committed to lifting the economic isolation of the Turkish Cypriots through targeted financial aid and trade liberalisation. We welcomed the decision by the EU last year to allocate €259 million for the economic development of Northern Cyprus. We continue to support the presidency's efforts to agree a direct trade regulation, which would fulfil the commitment made in April 2004 to allow Northern Cyprus to once again trade with the EU on preferential terms.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What representations they have made as guarantor power to the Government of the Republic of Cyprus to have compensation paid to Turkish Cypriots who have had land and property in southern Cyprus taken over by the public authorities. [HL1643]

The issue of property is one of the most contentious and central issues in the Cyprus dispute and the Government raise such issues with all interlocutors during their discussions.

The then UN Secretary-General's comprehensive settlement plan of 2004 contained provisions for the return of, and compensation for, property in respect of all Cypriots.

We are aware of recent legal claims by Turkish Cypriots for restitution of their property. However, we continue to believe that the best way of resolving the property issue is as part of a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement agreement. We remain committed to doing everything we can to support progress towards a resumption of settlement negotiations.