Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Written Evidence

Further written evidence received from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus


  The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus presents its compliments to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the United Kingdom Parliament and with reference to the latter's announcement of inquiry into United Kingdom policy towards Cyprus, has the honour to send in electronic form, further to the relevant Memorandum, sent on 13 September 2004, attached herewith, a Supplement entitled "Whether the United Kingdom should seek to alter its relationship with the northern part of the island".

14 September 2004

Whether the United Kingdom Should Seek to Alter its Relationship with the Northern Part of the Island

  The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus believes that the Committee, in its examination, should take into serious consideration that the United Kingdom, as a Guarantor Power, as a Permanent Member of the Security Council of the United Nations, and as a Partner in the European Union, must not in any way try to upgrade the status of the secessionist entity in the occupied part of Cyprus, nor attempt to, either directly or indirectly, undermine the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus. The United Kingdom Government must work towards the reunification of Cyprus and its people respecting, at the same time, international law including the acquis communautaire.

  In this respect, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recalls the legal obligations contained in the provisions of Article II of the Treaty of Guarantee, signed in 1960 which state that: "…the United Kingdom, …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."

  Moreover, the United Kingdom, which was instrumental in the elaboration, drafting and passing of relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions—especially Resolutions 541 (1983) and 550 (1984)—must avoid any and all actions, which would lead to the weakening of those Resolutions. There is no doubt that our common goal of reuniting Cyprus will be negatively affected forever by such actions, which will undoubtedly lead to the upgrading of and the creeping or overt recognition of the secessionist entity in the north.

  The northern part of Cyprus is not a separate state or country, but a part of the Republic of Cyprus, occupied by foreign troops. This is established by a number of United Nations Security Council Resolutions and no country (except the occupying power) or international organisation recognises the existence of such a state. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs recalls UN Security Council resolution 541 (1983), which brands the [secessionist declaration] in the occupied part of Cyprus as "legally invalid and calls for its withdrawal", and 550 (1984), which "…Reiterates the call upon all States not to recognize the purported state of the `Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus' set up by secessionist acts and calls upon them not to facilitate or in any way assist the aforesaid secessionist entity."

  Moreover, it should not be forgotten that the Republic of Cyprus and the United Kingdom are both members of the European Union. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs believes that the founding principles of the EU, namely democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, should form the basis of all the endeavours of the Union. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs additionally believes that decisions on issues directly affecting vital interests of the Republic of Cyprus should be made on the basis of cooperation and solidarity.

  In view of the above, the United Kingdom should not support and/or promote proposals for "direct trade" with the northern part of the island. Such moves lack any sound legal basis. In fact, they clearly try to promote and present external trade with a secessionist entity as lawful. They attempt to legalize an illegal situation in the territory of a Member State of the EU, where the application of the acquis communautaire is suspended, whilst at the same time creating serious practical problems and setting dangerous international precedents. More importantly, such proposals disregard the aim of the economic integration of the island and its people—an aim which proposals for "direct trade" risk sacrificing on the altar of political considerations.

  As for Community law, it should be emphasized that the former imposes a specific duty of loyal cooperation between the Community and the Member States enshrined in Article 10 EC. The European Court of Justice has held that "the duty to cooperate in good faith governs relations between the Member States and the institutions." The Court has also emphasized that this obligation "imposes on Member States and the Community institutions mutual duties to cooperate in good faith." The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expects that its partners in the EU will actively support Cyprus in its efforts to assist the Turkish Cypriots and to strive for the reunification of the island, while at the same time upholding its vital national interests. It was, after all, the European Court of Justice itself which decided, in the seminal case of ex parte Anastasiou (1994), that "cooperation is excluded with the authorities of an entity such as that established in the northern part of Cyprus, which is recognized neither by the Community nor by the Member States." The findings of the ECJ leave no room for interpretation and preclude EU Member States from conducting "direct trade", or acts of equivalent nature, with the secessionist entity in occupied Cyprus.

  As for the insistence of the Turkish occupation regime to conduct "direct trade" through the illegally functioning ports and airports in occupied Cyprus, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would like to stress that, under a well-established principle of international law, every State has the indisputable right to determine which of its ports and airports are open and functioning, as well as to define their terms of operation. The United Kingdom should respect this sovereign right of the Republic of Cyprus without more.

  The Government of the Republic of Cyprus supports the EU's expressed intention of extending financial assistance for the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community and recalls that it was the Foreign Minister of the Republic who, at the Council of 26 April 2004, tabled the subject and advocated the granting, to the Turkish Cypriots, of the

259 million that would have been transferred to Cyprus in the event of a solution. The Government of Cyprus welcomes the stipulation in the Commission's draft Regulation that in the implementation of projects financed under this Regulation the rights of natural and legal persons, including the rights to possessions and property, shall be respected. A fortiori the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights concerning Cyprus and, more particularly, its Judgments in the Loizidou line of cases where the Court held, inter alia, that there had been a breach of Article 1 of Protocol No 1 of the Convention, in that the applicant had effectively lost control over, as well as all possibilities to use and enjoy, her property and that the denial of access to the applicant's property and consequent loss of control thereof were imputable to Turkey. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expects that, as a strong advocate of the rule of law and the effective functioning of international and regional judicial bodies, as well as the faithful execution of their decisions, the Government of the United Kingdom will work within the principles of the Court's decisions.

  Lastly, it is noted that Turkey maintains complete and overall control over occupied Cyprus. This continuing reality was acknowledged by the European Court of Human Rights, which, in its Judgment in Cyprus v Turkey (2001), underlined that Turkey, which has "effective overall control over northern Cyprus", is responsible for securing therein all human rights under the Convention and Protocols she has ratified, such that violations of such rights directly by her or her "subordinate local administration" are imputable to Ankara. Unfortunately, there is still no change in this situation as the Turkish army continues to cast its dark shadow over all decision-making in occupied Cyprus, including decisions pertaining to the movement of Greek Cypriot products, which must be approved by the Turkish military.

  The welfare and prosperity of the people of Cyprus lie in the economic integration of the two communities and the unification of the island's economy: not with the encouragement of unlawful, separatist tendencies. For, any moves or initiatives supposedly aiming at the economic development of Turkish Cypriots but with evidently hidden political motives, create nothing more than a disincentive for a solution and promote the permanent division of the island, whose northern part continues to toil under the presence of 36,000 troops and more than 100,000 settlers transplanted from an EU Candidate Country. It is in this context that the United Kingdom should be aiming at the intensification of contact and cooperation between the members of the two communities, whilst avoiding actions that are not in line with the goal of Cypriot reunification.

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