Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 2:16 pm on 7th June 1995.

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Photo of Mrs Barbara Roche Mrs Barbara Roche , Hornsey and Wood Green 2:16 pm, 7th June 1995

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about the political situation in Cyprus. [25440]

Photo of Hon. Douglas Hurd Hon. Douglas Hurd , Witney

We believe that the present division of Cyprus is unacceptable. We are actively supporting the United Nations Secretary General's mission of good offices, which offers the best hope for a just and lasting solution. Exploratory discussions between representatives of the two communities in Cyprus were held in London on 21 to 23 May. We are encouraging both sides in Cyprus to approach future negotiations positively and flexibly.

Photo of Mrs Barbara Roche Mrs Barbara Roche , Hornsey and Wood Green

Does the Secretary of State agree that, as a guarantor power, Britain could be doing much more to ensure, first, that refugees are able to return to their homes as part of a just solution and, secondly, that news is obtained of people who have been missing since 1974? When does the Secretary of State or one of his colleagues next expect to visit the island of Cyprus to discuss in person a long overdue speedy and just solution to the problem?

Photo of Hon. Douglas Hurd Hon. Douglas Hurd , Witney

In the past few years we have expended a lot of energy pursuing both the specific points that the hon. Lady mentioned. My colleagues and I are continually in touch with the President of Cyprus and the Foreign Minister of Cyprus, Mr. Michaelides, to discuss how we can help the two communities to reach a necessary agreement. We believe in one Cyprus with two communities and a federal constitution. It is difficult to turn that principle into a settled agreement. That is why we are in favour of private talks, which were held in London. They did not make as much progress as we had wished, but we must keep on trying, as the hon. Lady said.

Photo of Dr Ian Twinn Dr Ian Twinn , Edmonton

I thank my right hon. Friend for his clear statement of support for one Cyprus with two communities and also for the work that he and the Foreign Office have done to ensure that the two communities can meet to talk about matters which concern them greatly. They are the ones who must make a decision about a just and lasting solution, but does my right hon. Friend agree that Britain has a particular responsibility to Cyprus both as a guarantor power and because many British citizens who are also Cypriots look to the Government in London to become actively involved in finding a solution?

Photo of Hon. Douglas Hurd Hon. Douglas Hurd , Witney

My hon. Friend is quite right. He and many other hon. Members on both sides of the House rightly remind me constantly that we have a special responsibility to Cyprus for both the reasons that my hon. Friend mentioned. We take that responsibility seriously, and we act upon it energetically.