Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:30 pm on 12th March 2002.

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Photo of Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean Minister of State (Middle East), Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Minister of State (Trade), Department of Trade and Industry, Minister for Trade and Investment and Deputy Leader of the House of Lords (also Department of Trade and Industry), Minister of State (Trade and Investment) Deputy Leader of the House of Lords (also FCO) 2:30 pm, 12th March 2002

My Lords, I agree that it was unfortunate that the talks did not get underway in any real sense until the beginning of December. The noble Lord is right that the accession talks which Cyprus is undertaking with the EU are making good headway. However, now that the talks between the two sides—between Mr Denktas and Mr Clerides—are under way, good progress is being made.

I would not like the noble Lord to think that the EU or the United Kingdom Government were standing back. As I have indicated, the noble Lord, Lord Hannay, is actively involved in the process. Although neither the EU nor the United Kingdom can be a mediator or broker, we take an active part in advising on the way forward.