Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th October 1986.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Conal Gregory Mr Conal Gregory , City of York 12:00 am, 29th October 1986

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last met a representative of the Government of Turkey to discuss the situaton in northern Cyprus; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr Timothy Eggar Mr Timothy Eggar , Enfield North

My right hon. and learned Friend met the Turkish Foreign Minister during the European Community Turkey Association Council meeting in September. He made clear the Twelve's well-known position of support for Senor Perez de Cuellar's efforts to reach a settlement on Cyprus. We continue actively to support the United Nations Secretary-General's initiative there.

Photo of Mr Conal Gregory Mr Conal Gregory , City of York

As Britain's ties with Cyprus go back to 1878, and as it is a fellow member of both the Council of Europe and the Commonwealth, will the Government take a lead in the international community in trying to restore the peaceful and sovereign state of Cyprus?

Photo of Mr Timothy Eggar Mr Timothy Eggar , Enfield North

We do, of course, work very closely with the Secretary-General and we support his initiative. He is determined to carry on with his peace efforts and has repeatedly told us how much he values our assistance.

Photo of Mr Eric Heffer Mr Eric Heffer , Liverpool, Walton

Will the Minister remind the Turkish Government that they are part of NATO, which is supposed to defend democracy and freedom? Is it not time that they were reminded that they used NATO forces and troops to occupy an area that was not theirs? Is it not also time that our Government got off the fence and told the Turkish Government to get out of Cyprus at the earliest possible moment?

Photo of Mr Timothy Eggar Mr Timothy Eggar , Enfield North

We obviously are determined to assist the Secretary-General in his efforts to achieve a peaceful solution within Cyprus — [Interruption.] I wish that Opposition Members, especially the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer), would not take such a simplistic approach to what are basically complicated questions.

Photo of Mr Richard Hickmet Mr Richard Hickmet , Glanford and Scunthorpe

When will my hon. Friend the Minister and his right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State decide that it is time to stop reciting the formula that the Government support the good efforts of the Secretary-General, because his good offices have failed? The British Government must decide what to do about that. The fact is that the Secretary-General's mission has failed due to the intransigence of Mr. Papandreos and the Greek Government.

Photo of Mr Timothy Eggar Mr Timothy Eggar , Enfield North

As my hon. Friend knows, the Secretary-General met President Kyprianou and Mr. Denktas in New York last month to discuss the initiative. We are hopeful that progress can be made and shall continue to do all that we can to support the Secretary-General. My hon. Friend may not be aware that it was recently announced that the United Nations Under-Secretary-General, Mr. Goulding, would be visiting Cyprus soon.

Mr. Bob Edwards:

Is the Minister aware that the treatment of Cyprus is unprecedented? That country, which is a member of the Commonwealth and of the Council of Europe, and whose representative sits on the Council of Ministers, is occupied by a foreign power. Even though it is allied to us through NATO, we contemplate no action to get rid of the Turkish army. That makes agreement in the Community impossible.

Photo of Mr Timothy Eggar Mr Timothy Eggar , Enfield North

I must make it quite clear once again that we are working hard to ensure a peace settlement in Cyprus. We are working to support the efforts of the United Nations Secretary-General, and that must be the best way to proceed.

Photo of Mr James Spicer Mr James Spicer , West Dorset

Does my hon. Friend agree that as a guarantor power in 1974 we had a duty to intervene in that conflict? Do not the guilty men sit on the Labour Benches, because they refused to take any action then which would have prevented a division of the island?

Photo of Mr Timothy Eggar Mr Timothy Eggar , Enfield North

I take careful note of my hon. Friend's point.

Photo of Mr Reginald Freeson Mr Reginald Freeson , Brent East

Is not the sticking point in an undoubtedly complicated situation regarding the peace settlement the refusal to accept the early removal of a foreign army from Cyprus? Until it is accepted that that foreign occupying army should be removed at a very early stage in the process, there will be no settlement. What is the Government's position on the removal of a foreign army—the only one in western Europe to be occupying the territory of another country?

Photo of Mr Timothy Eggar Mr Timothy Eggar , Enfield North

The two sides to the dispute obviously hold different views about the position of troops on the island of Cyprus. Part of the difficulty that the United Nations Secretary-General faces in bringing about a peaceful solution is that he has to reach an agreement on the future of the Turkish and other troops on the island.

Photo of Mr Peter Mills Mr Peter Mills , Torridge and West Devon

Despite what the Minister has said, we have to redouble our efforts to resolve this problem. Will he bear in mind that there is no question of Turkey entering the Community until this problem is solved? It would help very much if the Minister made representations to the Americans about their aid to Turkey, which really means that they are supporting foreign troops in Cyprus.

Photo of Mr Timothy Eggar Mr Timothy Eggar , Enfield North

No application has yet been made by Turkey to join the European Community. The priority for Turkey, the United Kingdom and the Community is that the association agreement should be made to work properly.

Photo of Mr George Robertson Mr George Robertson , Hamilton

The Minister can see that there is genuine concern in the House about this issue. He says that no formal application for membership of the European Community has been made by Turkey, but reports in today's newspapers suggest that a formal application to join the European Community will be made by Turkey next month. Surely there can be no question of the British Government supporting that application or acquiescing to it so long as foreign troops remain in occupation of the northern part of Cyprus?

Photo of Mr Timothy Eggar Mr Timothy Eggar , Enfield North

No such application has yet been made. If and when an application is made, these matters will have to be considered, together with many others.