Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades has warned the UN chief that Turkish threats to reopen the fenced-off area of Famagusta – Varosha – while still under Turkish occupation would be dangerous.
And that such a move would have a very negative impact on the resumption of UN-brokered Cyprus peace talks.
In a telephone conversation late on Tuesday with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the President also underlined that this is in stark contrast to relevant UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions, according to a written statement by Government Spokesman Kyriacos Koushos.
“It will certainly have a very negative impact on efforts to restart the talks, from where they stopped in Crans Montana, Switzerland,” added the statement.
“Turkey’s intentions in relation to Varosha, as well as its general provocative behaviour within the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone clearly fall within the plan put forward by Ankara to abandon the agreed base of the solution, as provided by the High-Level Agreements and the relevant UNSC resolutions” it also said.
“In this context, the President called on the UN Secretary-General to intervene and reiterated his proposal to set up a bi-communal committee to prepare a study for the reconstruction of the city and to resettle legal residents in the fenced off city”.
Koushos also said that the President reiterated his readiness and commitment to resume substantive negotiations from the point where they were interrupted at Crans Montana and in the context of the common understanding reached on 25 November 2019 in Berlin, in a proper environment that will be helpful and supportive towards efforts to reach a solution.
The UN Press Office also issued a press release on the telephone conversation between the Secretary General and the Cypriot President.
“The Secretary General reaffirmed the position of the United Nations, guided by the relevant Security Council resolutions”, says the UN press release, according to PIO.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.
Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.
Guterres appointed in the summer of 2018 senior American UN official Jane Holl Lute in order to conduct consultations with all parties of the Conference on Cyprus.
Lute visited Cyprus several times and met Cyprus President, Nicos Anastasiades, and Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci, with a view to clinch an agreement on the Terms of Reference that would lead to the resumption of the negotiations for a Cyprus settlement.
To that end she also held contacts with the three guarantor powers, namely the UK, Greece and Turkey.
After a tripartite meeting, in Berlin, on November 25 2019, among Guterres, Anastasiades and Akinci, the UN Secretary – General issued a statement saying that he agreed to extend his efforts to achieve terms of reference to serve as a consensus starting point for phased, meaningful, and results-oriented negotiations at the earliest feasible opportunity.
Efforts to convene an informal five-party meeting, in a bid to conclude the terms of reference and resume negotiations for a Cyprus settlement, were expected to start after April 2020 and the “elections” in the Turkish Cypriot community.
However, the process has been suspended for October 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.