Cyprus

House of Lords written question – answered on 1st April 2008.

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Photo of Lord Maginnis of Drumglass Lord Maginnis of Drumglass Crossbench

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Malloch-Brown on 12 March (WA 229), whether, in the light of President Christofias's comments in Brussels on 14 March that the European Commission should not advocate lifting trade and travel embargos against Turkish Cypriots and that he will not negotiate a settlement based on the United Nations plan, they will consider the application of international human rights standards to the people of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Photo of Lord Malloch-Brown Lord Malloch-Brown Minister of State, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Minister of State (Africa, Asia and the UN)

The UK strongly supports the EU's commitment of 2004 to end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriot community and facilitate a Cyprus settlement. This commitment was reaffirmed in 2007. We are committed to seeing the Turkish Cypriots play a full and constructive role as EU citizens—this means sharing the benefits of EU membership, but also the responsibilities. Our aim is to increase contact between the two communities in Cyprus and make any future settlement easier to implement by raising the Turkish Cypriot community's capacity to meet the EU acquis.

While efforts to ease the isolation of the Turkish Cypriot community are important, ultimately this isolation will only be fully lifted in the context of a UN-brokered comprehensive settlement to reunite the island. A new opportunity has opened up to make decisive progress towards a comprehensive Cyprus settlement. It is important that energy is focused on capitalising on this opportunity and that obstacles are not placed in the way of any new negotiation.

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