At the end of a conference in Zurich on 11 February 1959, an agreement was reached between Greece and Turkey on a comparison plan. On 19 February, following a conference in London attended by representatives of Greece, Turkey, Great Britain and the two Cypriot communities, a final settlement agreement was signed on the Cyprus conflict. 84.It also argued that the guarantee contract was null and void because Article IV, by authorizing the unilateral use of force to maintain the status quo in Cyprus, is at odds with a rule of ius cogens (an imperative standard of general international law), i.e. a standard accepted and recognized by the international community as a whole as a principle to which no exceptions are permitted. In this regard, it should be noted that there are significant differences of opinion within the international community on the standards that fall specifically into this category. It must be recognized, however, that the prohibition of the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of a state is a rule that falls definitively into this category. (50) Perhaps I may add, although I may add, in response to a question, that we have all signed the final agreement of the three Prime Ministers and that I am pleased to say that the Turkish Prime Minister has been sufficiently recovered that Mr Karamanlis and I can go to the hospital where he is, where the final signatures took place. I am sure that Parliament will understand that the Greek and Turkish parliaments also have the right to be informed first-hand of these important agreements. The documents, including the agreements between the Greek and Turkish foreign ministers in Zurich, will therefore be presented to Parliament next Monday in the form of a white paper. They are also published in Nicosia by the governor. At this stage, I would just like to say that the agreements reached in Zurich take full account of the rights of the Cypriot people and constitute a fair and honourable compromise between the interests of Greece and Turkey. They restore the friendship and alliance between these two countries, which are so important to the security of all of us.
I want my hon and my hon. My friends and I have the highly deserved recognition of the Prime Minister to our armed forces and civilian members of the Cypriot civil service, who have suffered so much in recent years, as well as to The Governor, Sir Hugh Foot, and his predecessor. I think that whatever the agreement, perhaps the biggest credit must go to the foreign ministers of Greece and Turkey, who managed, at a dangerous moment in relations between their two countries, to come together and reach an agreement. The question was asked whether Cyprus could remain in some form of association with the Commonwealth. This is an issue on which, of course, the Cypriot people themselves should have the opportunity to express their opinion if they promise to do so through constitutional means. It is also an issue that must concern other Commonwealth governments. If the Government of Cyprus declares when the time comes that it wishes to remain attached to the Commonwealth, the Government of the United Kingdom, in consultation with other members of the Commonwealth, will consider with meaning the best way to satisfy this wish. I hope – I am sure – that all members on all sides of the committee will welcome this agreement.
I believe that we have closed a chapter of bitterness and controversy in the history of Cyprus and that we are now taking a new approach with our Greek and Turkish allies and the people of Cyprus themselves, where partnership and cooperation replace quarrels and disagreements.