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Cyprus: UK Policy

Volume 694: debated on Wednesday 25 July 2007

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Malloch-Brown on 11 July (WA 221), how they define their policy of “non-recognition” towards the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus; and what assessment they have made of the impact of that policy on the human rights of Turkish Cypriots since November 1983. [HL4908]

The UK recognises the Republic of Cyprus as the sole state foreseen in the 1960 constitution. The “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” (TRNC), established by a “unilateral declaration of independence” in 1983, is not recognised by the UK (or by any other state apart from Turkey). Following the “unilateral declaration of independence” the then Foreign Secretary (the right honourable and learned Lord, Lord Howe of Aberavon) made the following statement in another place: “Her Majesty’s Government deplore this action by the Turkish Cypriot community, which amounts to a declaration of secession. We have issued a statement which makes it clear that this is incompatible with the 1960 treaties. Our position has always been that we recognise only one Republic of Cyprus. That remains the position today”. The UK policy on recognition of the TRNC has remained unaltered since 1983.

The Government continue to support the EU initiatives aimed at ending the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots described in the reply that my noble friend the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Lord Triesman, gave to the noble Lord on 13 June (Official Report, WA 255-56). In particular, the Government support efforts to bring the Turkish Cypriot community closer to Europe through, for example, financial aid and trade liberalisation.

The continued division of Cyprus has an impact on the ability of Cypriots from both communities to enjoy the full range of freedoms and rights. The recent United Nations report from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the question of human rights in Cyprus (available at: www.ohchr.orb/english/countries/cy) highlights a number of ongoing concerns. However, as that report concludes, the situation of human rights in Cyprus would be greatly improved by the achievement of a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem. It is on this that the UK will continue to focus its efforts.

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Malloch-Brown on 11 July (WA 221), whether their policy towards the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus provides for a possible route towards self-determination; and whether there has been any relevant precedent set in the Balkans. [HL4909]

The Government would support any solution to the Cyprus problem that is endorsed by the United Nations and supported by a majority of Cypriots from each community. Both communities have subscribed to the goal of a bizonal, bicommunal federation based on political equality.

We do not consider that any relevant precedent has been set in the Balkans.