At the invitation of the House of Representatives in Cyprus, I was one of several UK Members of Parliament from Labour, Conservatives and the Scottish National Party to travel to Nicosia this week to meet the Presidential Commissioner, the Foreign Minister, cross party Members of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee and Turkish speaking Representatives to discuss the Cyprus Problem.
We saw first-hand the barbed wire and Blue Beret United Nations soldiers at the Green Line which divides the two communities and met the Deputy Mayor of Famagusta, who spoke of the pain of the past but gave us his insights into the way forward. The most promising meetings were with young people, civil society groups and MPs from Greek and Turkish speaking communities at the Home for Co-operation, based in the no-man’s land Buffer Zone and supported by the UN and the British High Commission, who seek to push for a peaceful solution for the people of Cyprus. They share a vision and work towards a bi-zonal, bi-communal Federation so future generations can live without the high levels of militarisation and the divisions of the past.
My colleague, Fabian Hamilton, who covers Cyprus for the Shadow Foreign Office Team, said: “It was a pleasure to travel to Cyprus with Catherine and to see for ourselves the effect that 47 years of division has had and why reunification of the island must be a high priority for the UN. The British Government needs to be far more active in bringing Cyprus back together again”.