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 entirely with my noble friend. However, the United Kingdom strongly supports the discussions under way between the two sides in Cyprus. We also strongly support the accession of Cyprus to the EU. But let me say categorically that neither we nor the European Union believe that such coming together in Cyprus is a precondition for accession. That was made abundantly clear at the Helsinki European Council, but for the purposes of further clarity I repeat that now to your Lordships.