Cyprus Mail
Letters Opinion

Cyprus and the British Sovereign Bases (web)

Report of proceedings of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords
May 1980 vol 409 cc1026-8 1026

LORD BROCKWAY My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

§ To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much has been paid to the Government of Cyprus since 1965 for the use of the two sovereign bases on its territory.

§LORD TREFGARNE My Lords, the sovereign base areas are not on the territory of the Republic of Cyprus. They are sovereign British territory. No fees or rent are payable for their use.

§LORD BROCKWAY Yes, my Lords; but is not this quite extraordinary? Do not the British bases occupy 99 square miles of the territory of Cyprus, and surely they are on that island as foreign sovereign bases? Surely we should be paying something to the Cyprus Government for the existence of the bases there.

§LORD TREFGARNE No, my Lords; what we should be doing is complying with the agreement which we entered into with the Cyprus Government in respect of the use of those bases. That agreement, which was signed in 1960, did not provide for the payment of rent.

§LORD BROCKWAY My Lords, were not the circumstances of 1960 very different from the circumstances of today? Has there not since been the Turkish invasion, and did we, as a guarantor of the integrity of Cyprus, not fail to defend it under those circumstances?

§LORD TREFGARNE No, my Lords; we met all our obligations to the Republic of Cyprus. However, with regard to the bases, which are the subject of the Question on the Order Paper, there is no question of Britain having failed to meet her obligations. There was some aid promised under the 1960 agreement, which was given.

Apart from substantial contributions to refugee relief and to the United Nations’ peacekeeping forces in Cyprus, a million loan was offered in 1978.

DB (name supplied)

UN blow to UK over military bases on ex-colony

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