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Promoting Democracy and Human Rights

Part of Points of Order – in the House of Commons at 4:34 pm on 13th October 2008.

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Photo of Caroline Flint Caroline Flint Minister of State (Europe) 4:34 pm, 13th October 2008

There are many different reasons, as my hon. Friend is aware. All I have to say in response is that we make sure these issues are raised with each and every individual country with which we engage on human rights, and we look for different ways in which we can influence those countries to make progress. There is no one blueprint; we have to acknowledge the situations we find ourselves in with these countries, and their alliances, but importantly we never give up on trying further to progress a human rights agenda. That is at the heart of what we do; it is not an add-on or an either/or in the work we carry out.

Progress on Turkey's EU accession is also highly dependent on progress on a Cyprus settlement. I was therefore delighted to be able to signal the UK's commitment to a united and indivisible Cyprus by visiting the island in my first few days in this job last week, and to encourage both leaders to make progress. I have heard this afternoon—I am not making any claims on this—that, as well as agreeing a helpfully ambitious timetable for the next round of talks, both leaders have announced the cancellation of the regular military exercises and parades that were due to take place later this month and in November. I hope that the House will agree that this is a very positive development that shows what can be achieved through trust and co-operation. I encourage the leaders to continue to conduct their negotiations in the same constructive manner.

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neil Regan
Posted on 14 Oct 2008 3:59 pm (Report this annotation)

Can Caroline tell us exactly how long she spent in Northern Cyprus. Also how many Turkish Cypriots she spoke to during her time there.