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Cyprus to study British documents for historical-political purposes
2005-01-04 10:26:06

Nicosia, Jan 4 (CNA) -- Britain does not seem to have responded to its obligations as a guarantor power of the Republic of Cyprus in 1974, Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides has stated, commenting on confidential papers of the British government of 1974, officially published on the 1st of the year.

He said the Cyprus government is trying to obtain copies of these documents, noting that after examining them the government may make further statements, if necessary, or take certain decisions.

Asked about the purpose of acquiring the copies, the Spokesman said: «research, filing, enrichment of the public archives for historical purposes and of course studying them for political reasons and evaluation of what has taken place during that period».

The confidential papers, released the 1st of the year 2005, refer to documents of 1974 when the Turkish invasion of Cyprus took place.

They reveal that during the crucial talks between the British Prime Minister of the time Harold Wilson and his Turkish counterpart Bulent Ecevit, at 10 Downing Street, in the evening of 17th July 1974, the British side gave an undertaking that in the event of Turkish forces intervening in Cyprus, Britain would not attempt to blockade their action.

According to the documents, at those talks, the first part of which were conducted during a working dinner and lasted three and a half hours, the Turkish Prime Minister asked whether the British side would allow Turkish forces to pass through the British military bases in Cyprus so that, as he put it, ''bloodshed would be avoided''.

While the Foreign Secretary James Callaghan said he would inquire what that would mean from the legal point of view and finally stated that such action would not be possible, the Prime Minister said at one point of the discussion he thought he ''understood the meaning of his counterpart’s remarks''.

''If the situation of the Turkish community on the island deteriorated, Turkey would feel it necessary to intervene. But he did not think that the SBAs could be used for that kind of intervention'', he said.

Ecevit, the document adds, ''replied that he could not insist on the point. The Bases were not essential for his purpose… But he hoped that the British government might be able to find other means of helping Turkey''.

The Foreign Secretary asked what British help would involve. Ecevit - the paper goes on - said that meant that he hoped Britain would not put up obstacles and would persuade the USA not to do so. ?arold Wilson intervened to say that ''he understood Mr Ecevit’s remarks as an expression of the Turkish wish that Britain would not blockade an action of the kind contemplated by Turkey but that they would blockade the Greeks''. Ecevit, the paper says, asked if Britain would be ready to do so. The Foreign Secretary said it was not impossible''.

Britain, Greece and Turkey are the three guarantor powers of the Republic of Cyprus, according to the 1960 treaties that established the Republic as an independent state, following an anti-colonial struggle.

Britain has retained two military bases on the island.

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