Cyprus

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:09 pm on 11th December 1996.

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Photo of Dr Ian Twinn Dr Ian Twinn , Edmonton 1:09 pm, 11th December 1996

I gladly declare an interest, having been a guest of the city of Morphou and of the House of Representatives in Nicosia this summer. I congratulate the hon. Member for Tooting (Mr. Cox) on securing this debate while the citizens and the mayor of Morphou are in the Palace. I hope that some people outside the House will hear what we have to say.

Famagusta, Morphou and the north of Cyprus have been occupied for 22 years, which is far too long. British parliamentarians have a responsibility, as the representatives of a guarantor power, to bring back peace to Cyprus, so that both communities can live together again.

I congratulate my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary on grasping the Cyprus nettle and agreeing to go there to meet both Mr. Clerides and Mr. Denktash. A solution can be found only if both sides talk together. The history of Cyprus is full of minefields for any politician who visits, and it will not be easy to find a solution, but in my heart I know that a solution is possible and that good will can prevail. I hope that the good work that Her Majesty's Government are doing will bring that forward.

The House may be surprised to learn that I, too, am a trade unionist, and that I greatly welcome the work that trade unions are doing to bring both sides together in Cyprus. We need more dialogue between Cypriot citizens of both communities. The more citizens talk together and realise their common inheritance, as well as their close links to either Turkey or Greece, the more understanding there will be.

I hope that my hon. Friend the Minister will confirm that it is Government policy to work hard for a settlement in Cyprus, and that, regardless of the political will or lack of it on either side, the entry of Cyprus cannot be vetoed by a recalcitrant partner to the negotiations. I say that to my friends who are Greek Cypriots. There has to be a positive will, such as has been shown over the past 22 years by the Government of Cyprus. I hope and believe that that will continue, and if it does not start on the other side, we shall have to devise a means of securing the entry of the rest of Cyprus, and the rest of the Cypriots, into Europe.