On March 6th I will be travelling to Cyprus to find out whether the Peace Process on the island is about to become a final settlement after nearly 43 years since the coup d’état and the Turkish invasion that followed.
Many older members and constituents will remember the events of July 1974 which led to the island being divided and much bloodshed at the time. The UN stepped in quickly but not before many hundreds had died and the Greek and Turkish populations separated into the North and South of Cyprus. Now, at last, owing to some excellent leadership on both sides, it finally looks as if a UN-brokered peace deal could become a reality and a peaceful settlement agreed.
I will be visiting with my colleague the Shadow Europe Minister Khalid Mahmood and we hope to meet President Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci, the Turkish Cypriot leader as well as many other parties who have played a part in the peace deal. Nicosia is the world’s last divided city and we all hope that the division will soon be ended so that the whole of Cyprus may become part of the EU.
Khalid and I will spend one day in the North and one day in the South and will write a full report on our findings.