Nicosia on Tuesday tried to play down the decision by the Council of EU foreign ministers that Coreper would now further evaluate the options on the table as regards Turkey’s provocations in Turkish-held Varosha.
The Council on Monday also discussed the issue of Varosha and the impact of the unilateral actions taken in July 2021 by Turkish Cypriots and Turkey in breach of UN Security Council Resolutions.
Nicosia expected sanctions against Turkey to have been the main option on the table but a number of countries – including Germany, Italy and Holland – objected to this and the issue is now referred to the Permanent Representatives Committee or Coreper.
Cyprus Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides told state radio that Nicosia’s efforts to keep the Varosha issue high on the agenda of the EU will continue.
Monday’s decision in Brussels is that Coreper would further evaluate the options on the table, which also include the creation of a specific sanctions regime focused on persons and entities having a direct involvement in the opening of part of Varosha after July 2021.
Ministers restated that is essential that Turkey re-engages seriously in the UN process and refrains from any action that would further deteriorate the situation on the ground.
The ministers in the bloc were asked by the EU’s foreign affairs chief, Josep Borrell to evaluate all options on the table for Varosha after it was partially demilitarised and reopened it to tourists.
Much of the international community had condemned the move, which was explicitly backed by Ankara.
The new UN head of mission for Cyrus, Colin Stewart, will host President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Erson Tatar to a reception at UN-cotrolled Ledra Palace on Tuesday evening.
He hopes it will be the first move towards fresh talks aiming to reunite the island which is divided since 1974 following a Turkish invasion.