Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political human rights organisation campaigning for a reunited Cyprus.
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Letters

To: David Miliband MP
01 September 2007
David Milliband MP, Foreign Secretary
Dear Foreign Secretary

First of all on behalf of Lobby for Cyprus may I congratulate you on your recent appointment as Foreign Secretary. We hope that this will herald the beginning of a more ethical approach to the Cyprus issue than we have witnessed under your predecessors.

As I am sure you are aware, Lobby for Cyprus is the voice of Greek Cypriots in the United Kingdom. We have written this letter to you to highlight our concerns over the Government’s positions on the Cyprus issue and to urge you to re-assess British foreign policy on Cyprus in light of the comments you made in your speech at Chatham House on 19 July entitled ‘New Diplomacy: Challenges for Foreign Policy.’

In your speech you said the following: “We need to be clear about values. For example the declaration at the World Summit in 2005 that the international community has a ‘Responsibility to Protect’ populations from genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity marks a vital new stage in the debate about the relationship between human rights and national sovereignty.”

Foreign Minister we would like to see the United Kingdom, even now, 33 years after the ethnic cleansing committed by the Turkish army in Cyprus, applying this new diplomacy and applying an ethical foreign policy to the resolution of the Cyprus issue.

I am sure that I do not need to remind you that since Turkey brutally invaded Cyprus 33 years ago it has consolidated its illegal presence in the occupied area with the tacit support of the United Kingdom, one of the three guarantor powers of the territorial integrity of Cyprus.

Turkey has maintained an army of occupation of over 40,000 troops; has ethnically cleansed all but the very elderly Greek Cypriots in the occupied area, replacing them with over 160,000 colonists from Turkey in an attempt to ethnically re-engineer the demographic make up of the island. And Turkey has ransacked the rich Christian cultural heritage of Cyprus. Turkey’s appalling behaviour in Cyprus is an affront to the civilised world and makes a mockery of its attempts to embrace not just your values, but those of the European Union also.

Under the Treaty of Guarantee the United Kingdom is legally obliged to ensure the continuation and territorial integrity of the Republic created in 1960. This it has lamentably failed to do. Recent British Government policy has been to support the deeply flawed Annan Plan, which had it been accepted, would have created an apartheid regime in Cyprus with Greek Cypriots unable to return to their ancestral homes or own property in large numbers in the north of the island. It would also have legitimised the ethnic cleansing committed by Turkey and absolved it of any further responsibility for its war crimes.

In the United Kingdom itself nothing has been done to stop the illegal exploitation of Greek Cypriot property in the occupied north of the island by UK based companies and developers. The Government should make it clear that profiting from the ethnic cleansing is not only immoral but also illegal.

Foreign Secretary you have a wonderful opportunity to right these wrongs and ensure that the United Kingdom fulfils its treaty obligations to Cyprus by supporting a solution consistent with international law and basic human rights. Such a solution would provide the template for the peaceful resolution of similar conflicts around the world. Indeed failing to do so would set a terrible precedent and make a mockery of your new diplomacy.

We urge you to ensure that in your handling of the Cyprus issue you support a solution that is in line with basic international law and consistent with the preservation of the basic human rights of the Greek Cypriots.

Yours sincerely

Lobby for Cyprus