Memorandum from the Foreign and Commonwealth
Office on Cyprus and the Rights of Guarantor Powers
1. The Treaty of Guarantee concluded by
the Republic of Cyprus, Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom
on 16 August 1960 provides that:
The Republic of Cyprus undertakes to ensure
the maintenance of its independence, territorial integrity and
security, as well as respect for its Constitution.
It undertakes not to participate, in whole or
in part, in any political or economic union with any State whatsoever.
It accordingly declares prohibited any activity likely to promote,
directly or indirectly, either union with any other State or partition
of the Island.
Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom, taking
note of the undertakings of the Republic of Cyprus set out in
Article I of the present Treaty, recognise and guarantee the independence,
territorial integrity and security of the Republic of Cyprus,
and also the State of Affairs established by the Basic Articles
of its Constitution.
Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom, likewise
undertake to prohibit, so far as concerns them, any activity aimed
at promoting directly or indirectly, either union of Cyprus with
any other State or partition of the Island."
2. It has been argued by the Turkish Government
that these provisions of the Treaty of Guarantee, in particular
the prohibition on participation by the Republic of Cyprus "in
political or economic union with any State whatsoever", preclude
accession by the Republic of Cyprus to the European Union. The
legal arguments put forward by the Turkish Government in support
of this view are set out in an opinion written by Professor Maurice
Mendelson QC, which was circulated, at the request of Turkey,
within the UN in 1997.
The arguments in the Medelson opinion were subsequently rebutted
in a joint opinion commissioned by the Government of the Republic
of Cyprus from Professors James Crawford, Gerhard Hafner and Alain
Then, towards the end of last year, two further opinions by the
same authors were circulated by the Turkish and Cypriot Governments
These additional opinions amplify some of the points raised in
1997, but do not contain any new substantive arguments.
3. The British Government does not accept
the Turkish Government's assertion that Cyprus's application to
join the European Union is illegal. In the Government's view there
is no legal obstacle to Cypriot membership of the EU, since EU
membership does not constitute "union with another State"
and is therefore not ruled out by the Treaty of Guarantee. The
Government subscribes to the legal analysis in the joint Crawford/Hafner/Pellet
opinions on this point. The Government's view of the legal position
is also supported by the actions and statements of other EU member
States, the European Commission and the UN Security Council.
4. Since, in the Government's view, Cypriot
membership of the EU does not constitute a breach of the Treaty
of Guarantee, the question of the need to obtain Turkey's consent,
as a guarantor power, does not arise.
5. The Government has made clear on a number
of occasions that it does not accept the legal analysis contained
in the two Mendelson opinions, most recently in a letter from
Sir Jeremy Greenstock, UK Permanent Representative to the United
Nations, to the Secretary General of the UN dated 12 November
Parliamentary Relations and Devolution Department
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
1 UN document A/51/951-S/1997/585. Back
UN document A/52/481-S/1997/805. Back
Second Mendelson opinion: UN document A/56/451-S/2001/953. Second
Crawford/Hafner/Pellet opinion: UN document A/56/723-S/2001/1222. Back
UN document A/56/612-S/2001/1059. Back