Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

British MPs back one Cyprus, reject Annan Plan

Cyprus Weekly - 23 July 2005

Members of the British and the European Parliaments from all parties strongly supported the reunification of Cyprus as a single state, rejecting the partitionist provisions of the Annan Plan during the various events staged here this week to mark the anniversary of the Turkish invasion and occupation.

MP Simon Hughes, the Deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, told me that "the UK as a guarantor (of Cyprus independence) has an obligation to help restore a united Cyprus. We did not guarantee two, we guaranteed one Cyprus." He added that "all the issues raised by the people of Cyprus are human rights issues, which the UK government has a duty to support."

Hughes also stressed that Britain, as the current holder of the EU presidency, "must make sure that Turkey first recognises Cyprus" before the opening of entry talks with the EU on October 3. He added that "if Turkey really wants to belong to a democratic group like the EU, it should not have troops in another sovereign nation."

Charles Tannock, a member of the European Parliament, said that the Turkish demand, backed by the EU Commission, for direct trade with the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state "leads to de facto recognition." He said that trade must only be carried through the legitimate government of Cyprus. Alan Meale, another MEP, said that "the coming week is very important," in view of the planned meeting of President Tassos Papadopoulos with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. "We should support justice and the right of the refugees to return to their homes and properties. There can be no deal on that, about the rights of individuals, as (equal) European citizens," Meale added.

Two MPs, Teresa Villers and Eddy O'Hara, two of the most fervent supporters of Cyprus, were both forthright in their rejection of the Annan Plan.

"I support your right to say no to a draft which would legitimise separation and deny Cypriots their basic rights, including that to live freely anywhere in Europe, said Villiers. She added that the EU must not embark on entry talks with Turkey while Turkish troops remain in Cyprus. O'Hara echoed this view on the withdrawal of the Turkish troops, who added that "the people of Cyprus had no choice but to say no the 5th Annan Plan."