Cyprus

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 15th June 2004.

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Photo of Helen Jones Helen Jones Labour, Warrington North 11:30 am, 15th June 2004

What recent discussions he has had with the (a) Greek and (b) Turkish Governments on the future of Cyprus.

Photo of Denis MacShane Denis MacShane Minister of State (Europe), Foreign & Commonwealth Office

At yesterday's General Affairs and External Relations Council in Brussels, at the UK-Turkey summit on 17 May, which was attended by the Prime Minister, and via our ambassadors in Athens and Ankara, the Government have been in regular contact with the Greek and Turkish Governments following the referendums in April on the UN Secretary-General's plan for the settlement of the Cyprus problem.

Photo of Helen Jones Helen Jones Labour, Warrington North

I am grateful to the Minister for that reply. Does he agree that now that the Turkish Cypriots have overwhelmingly voted yes in the referendum, we should be considering not only how we can start to normalise relations with the northern part of Cyprus, but how we can talk to the Greek Cypriot population, perhaps with our colleagues in the European Union, to try to make real progress towards a united island of Cyprus?

Photo of Denis MacShane Denis MacShane Minister of State (Europe), Foreign & Commonwealth Office

My hon. Friend is right. As the Foreign Secretary made clear in his statement on 28 April, Britain is engaged in dialogue with both communities on the island. The people in the north of Cyprus—the Turkish Cypriots—sent a clear yes to Europe; unfortunately, that was not the result from the Greek Cypriots. We believe that the UN Secretary-General's plan remains the best way forward for allowing a united Cyprus to enter the European Union.