Cyprus President, Nicos Anastasiades, briefed on Tuesday the Speaker of UK House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, on the latest developments in the Cyprus problem and the ongoing Turkish provocations both on the ground of the Republic of Cyprus and at sea, referring particularly to the violations of the UN Security Council resolutions with regard to the fenced off city of Famagusta.
Anastasiades received Sir Hoyle at the Presidential Palace, as the latter is paying an official visit to Cyprus, at the invitation of Cyprus House President, Annita Demetriou.
According to a press release issued by the Presidency, President Anastasiades also referred during the meeting to his proposals for Confidence Building Measures, that will contribute to the creation of a climate conducive to starting a constructive dialogue in good faith from all sides, for the settlement of the Cyprus problem.
As it is noted, the excellent and long-standing ties between Cyprus and the UK, at all levels, including the parliamentary one, were noted during the meeting.
Moreover, Anastasiades and Sir Hoyle discussed, among others, about the two countries` bilateral relations in fields such as tourism, education and issues related to the diaspora.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. 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.
Varosha, the fenced off section of the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta, is often described as a ‘ghost town’.
UN Security Council resolution 550 (1984) considers any attempts to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible and calls for the transfer of this area to the administration of the UN. UN Security Council resolution 789 (1992) also urges that with a view to the implementation of resolution 550 (1984), the area at present under the control of the United Nations Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus be extended to include Varosha.
Turkish Cypriot leader, Ersin Tatar, announced in July 2021 a partial lifting of the military status in Varosha. On October 8, 2020, the Turkish side opened part of the fenced area of Varosha, following an announcement made in Ankara on October 6.
Moreover, Ankara sent on several occasions its seismic research vessel “Barbaros” to Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), following the Republic of Cyprus’ decision to start exploratory offshore drilling. After May 2019, two Turkish drill ships, “Fatih” and “Yavuz”, conducted unauthorised hydrocarbon drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, at times in areas licensed by Cyprus to international energy companies. A third ship, “Kanuni”, was eventually sent to the Black Sea.