Cyprus

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 26th November 1975.

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Photo of Mr Norman Atkinson Mr Norman Atkinson , Haringey Tottenham 12:00 am, 26th November 1975

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement in regard to the current Cyprus inter-communal talks; and if it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to accept a bi-zonal solution.

Photo of Mr Edward Graham Mr Edward Graham , Enfield Edmonton

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is his present policy towards political developments in Cyprus; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr Robin Corbett Mr Robin Corbett Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had concerning a settlement of the problems in Cyprus.

Photo of Mr John Watkinson Mr John Watkinson , Gloucestershire West

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will report on any developments towards a settlement of the political problems of Cyprus.

The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. RoyHattersley):

We are continuing our efforts to promote the early resumption of the intercommunal talks. Now that the United Nations debate is over, we hope these can be resumed shortly. As for the form of settlement, I have made clear that Her Majesty's Government would accept any arrangement that was agreeable to the island's communities.

Photo of Mr Norman Atkinson Mr Norman Atkinson , Haringey Tottenham

Does my right hon. Friend accept that he has earned the warm approval of the House for the way in which the British representative at the United Nations behaved in voting in support of previous resolutions for the total withdrawal of armed forces from Cyprus? Does he accept, secondly, that the best contribution that we can now make to the intercommunal talks would be for us not only to declare our attitude to the withdrawal of troops and the restoration of normality in that island, but to say that we could not foresee an acceptable solution being on a bi-zonal basis? Therefore, if we hope for progress at these talks, should not we now outline to the Governments in Ankara and Athens our attitude towards a bi-zonal solution?

Photo of Mr Roy Hattersley Mr Roy Hattersley , Birmingham Sparkbrook

I am grateful for my hon. Friend's congratulations to Mr. Ivor Richard and in respect of the point of view of the Government that Mr. Richard has expressed in the United Nations. It is surely the duty of Her Majesty's Government to support any solution acceptable to the people of Cyprus. It would be unwise for us to try to impose a solution on them which was more specific than our stated commitment to the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the island. We shall accept whatever they will accept.

Photo of Mr Edward Graham Mr Edward Graham , Enfield Edmonton

Can my right hon. Friend say anything hopeful to the hundreds of my constituents whose relatives are still denied access to their property and their houses?

Photo of Mr Roy Hattersley Mr Roy Hattersley , Birmingham Sparkbrook

We continue to make representations, both to the Government of Turkey and to the authorities who are in temporary control of parts of Cyprus, about the free movement of people and their right to return to their property and to re-inhabit the areas which are rightfully theirs. But the real message that we have to give to the people is that there is no permanent solution until the new political status of Cyprus is determined.

Photo of Mr Cyril Townsend Mr Cyril Townsend , Bexley Bexleyheath

What is the Government's view of the increased restrictions on movement between north and south in Cyprus? Is it not about time that the Government made a clear statement of their position about the resettlement of the Turkish farming communities in northern Cyprus? Surely this undermines all the diplomatic activity, which both sides of the House support.

Photo of Mr Roy Hattersley Mr Roy Hattersley , Birmingham Sparkbrook

The Government have made their position very clear on what the hon. Gentleman refers to as the resettlement of the Turkish population in the north of the island. We have constantly expressed our disapproval of that, if that is taking place. My right hon. Friend and I have both expressed that view to the Government of Turkey and their representatives. The Turkish Government insist that there is no planned migration of Turkish citizens to the north of the island, but that normal seasonal migration, which is always taking place, is going on and that stories of mass migration are grotesquely overstated. We shall go on expressing our view that, were migration of the sort suggested to take place, we should very much deplore it.

Photo of Mr John Watkinson Mr John Watkinson , Gloucestershire West

Will my right hon. Friend go a little further and acknowledge that there is considerable unrest and fear about the trans-migration between the two communities? Is not it time that we were informed on a more factual basis whether this is taking place and what the Government are doing about it?

Photo of Mr Roy Hattersley Mr Roy Hattersley , Birmingham Sparkbrook

It is difficult to be accurate and specific about the migration to which my hon. Friend refers. There have been a number of reports, some in British newspapers, that there is a calculated plan of migration to the north. The Turkish Government insist that that is not the case, but that normal seasonal movements are taking place. All that we can do and will continue to do is to say that, although we understand that seasonal migration is a feature of life in Cyprus, were anything more planned and positive than that to happen we should deeply deplore it.