Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Second Report

Conclusions and recommendations

1.  After careful consideration, we conclude that it was right that all those on the electoral roll in northern Cyprus were able to participate in the referendum held in April 2004, and we recommend that the same arrangements should apply in respect of any future referendum on a solution to the Cyprus problem. (Paragraph 80)

2.  We conclude that there is as yet little evidence that the Republic of Cyprus has fully taken on board that its membership of the EU involves obligations, as well as opportunities. We recommend that the Government work on a bilateral level, and with its European partners, to encourage Cyprus to adapt to European Union values and methods of working. (Paragraph 103)

3.  We are greatly disappointed that it has so far proved impossible to gain agreement on the modest but important proposals to improve the operation and usefulness of the Green Line Regulation on intra-island trade. We recommend that the United Kingdom work closely with the Luxembourg presidency to secure early implementation of these changes and to streamline procedures for making further amendments. We further recommend that the EU should take steps to bring in genuinely free trade, with traders in the South of the island being free to move goods and products across the line to the North. (Paragraph 115)

4.  We regret that valuable aid for the people of northern Cyprus is being held up by political and procedural disputes within the EU. We recommend that the Government use its good offices to persuade all parties to remove the remaining obstacles to disbursement of this aid. (Paragraph 122)

5.  We conclude that undertakings given to Turkish Cypriots by the international community must be honoured. We recommend that the Government do more to turn its words into action, by working with the Luxembourg presidency of the EU to remove obstacles to direct trade with and travel to northern Cyprus, and that it encourage the wider international community to do the same. (Paragraph 135)

6.  We recommend that in its response to this Report, if not sooner, the Government clarify whether it has the power to authorise direct passenger flights between the United Kingdom and northern Cyprus. We further recommend that, if it does possess the power to authorise flights, the Government announce a date from which such services will be permitted, subject to satisfactory safety inspections of the facilities at Ercan and other assurances. (Paragraph 146)

7.  In the absence of an early overall settlement, we recommend that the Government support practical measures which will enable Turkish Cypriots to trade with the United Kingdom and other countries, such as refurbishment and then joint operation to EU standards of the port at Famagusta, as proposed by the government of Cyprus. (Paragraph 152)

8.  We reiterate our previous strong support for Turkish membership of the European Union. We conclude, however, that in practice Turkish accession will be impossible for as long as there is no settlement of the Cyprus problem. We also conclude that Turkey has the power greatly to assist both a settlement in Cyprus and its EU aspirations, for example by withdrawing some of its many thousands of troops from the island, and we call upon it to do so. (Paragraph 163)

9.  we conclude that, despite assertions to the contrary, there is no wish or intention on the part of the British Government to perpetuate the present state of affairs on the island, still less to move towards a permanent and legal partition, which would be in no one's best interests. (Paragraph 172)

10.  We conclude that the Government's decision to offer to transfer sovereignty over almost half of the United Kingdom's sovereign base areas on Cyprus to the island's two communities as part of an overall settlement was a constructive and useful gesture, with no negative consequences for the United Kingdom's interests. We recommend that the Government be prepared to renew the offer with the same conditions as before in the event that progress towards a settlement is resumed. (Paragraph 182)

11.  We recommend that in any future negotiations on a settlement based on the Annan Plan, the parties be invited to consider accelerating the withdrawal of Turkish and Greek forces and the demilitarisation of Cypriot forces, so that all these are reduced to zero and security guarantees are provided by an external force acting under the terms of a mandatory resolution of the United Nations Security Council. (Paragraph 195)

12.  We note the very strong feelings of the Greek Cypriot people about the need for restitution of property to its rightful owners and conclude that the property issue remains one of the most crucial to be addressed in the search for a solution to the Cyprus problem. We conclude that in any revival of the talks process it will be necessary to find ways of addressing Greek Cypriot concerns which do not disadvantage Turkish Cypriots. An element of outside financial support may be helpful in this regard. (Paragraph 199)

13.  We conclude that British citizens who intend to buy property in northern Cyprus risk exposing themselves to legal action by Greek Cypriots who may be the rightful owners of those properties. We recommend that the Government lose no opportunity to warn prospective purchasers of this risk. (Paragraph 200)

14.  We recommend that a population census be held in northern Cyprus, funded by the European Union and carried out either by an appropriate international body or by the Turkish Cypriot authorities under close international supervision. (Paragraph 205)

15.  We recommend that in any resumption of negotiations for a settlement of the Cyprus problem, the Government seek to persuade the parties of the need for an increase in the number of Turkish settlers who will be required to return to Turkey as part of a solution, together with improved financial compensation for them. The precise figures should be for negotiation between the parties. (Paragraph 208)

16.  We conclude that a substantive financial gesture by Turkey on the property compensation issue would be a magnanimous and positive move which would reflect well on Turkey and should be of some assistance in reducing Greek Cypriot opposition to a solution which stops short of full restitution. (Paragraph 211)

17.  We conclude that the costs of a settlement in Cyprus may be considerable, but that the international community is able and willing to make a substantial contribution to them. We recommend that the Government seek to ensure that, before any further referendum is held on the island, clear information is available to the people of Cyprus on the extent of the financial contribution which will be made by countries other than Cyprus. We further recommend that the Government and the European Union look sympathetically at ways of alleviating the financial burdens of a settlement on ordinary Cypriots. (Paragraph 216)

18.  We conclude that, in the absence of an overall solution to the Cyprus problem, a step-by-step approach is likely to be better than no progress at all. We also conclude that confidence-building measures have a role to play, but only if they are consistent with the principles which underlie the Annan Plan, and only if they do not diminish the prospects of an overall settlement. We recommend that the Government consider lending its support to any worthwhile and practicable confidence-building measures which meet those criteria. (Paragraph 223)

19.  We conclude that a lasting settlement of the Cyprus problem is overwhelmingly in the interests of the people of Cyprus and that it offers important advantages for the European Union, for Turkey and for the international community. We further conclude that, although the prospects for success may not be great, the opportunities which will arise in mid-2005 must be seized. As one of the Permanent Five on the UN Security Council, as President of the EU in the second half of 2005 and as a guarantor power in relation to Cyprus, the United Kingdom is in a uniquely special position to assist the process. We recommend that the Government make the achievement of a solution to the Cyprus problem a priority of its foreign policy in 2005. (Paragraph 236)

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