President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades has described as an effort to alter the status quo of Famagusta, as it is defined by UN Security Council resolutions, Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar’s announcement for partial withdrawal of the military regime of Varosha.
He also said that unity and the continued effort through the ‘weapons’ provided by international law, the EU and the principles of justice are the way to avert Turkey’s pursuits.
In statements to reporters after the memorial service at Apostle Varnavas Cathedral in Nicosia for those who fell during the Turkish invasion, President Anastasiades said that it is a day to remember everything that happened before and after the coup d’état. A day to remember the occupied areas of our homeland, a day to remember the mistakes we have committed and the unlawful actions that continue.
It is a day to honour, the President added, those who sacrificed their lives for democracy and constitutional order, territorial integrity and the freedom of our homeland.
President Anastasiades further said that it is a day to honour those who are still missing after fighting at the battlefields and elsewhere and those who died. It is a day, he added, to think about how to handle the escalating Turkish intransigence and its pursuits.
“For this reason, I note that the only way is none other but unity and the continued effort through the ‘weapons’ provided by international law, EU and in general the principles of justice”, he said.
Invited to comment announcements by Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar for partial lifting of the military regime of Varosi, the President said he would do so once he is fully informed on what exactly Tatar intends to do.
However, he said that if this so, “it is unacceptable. It is an effort to alter the status quo of Famagusta as determined by resolutions 550 and 789, hence our reaction will be similar”.
Asked to comment on the Turkish demand for two states in order for the dialogue to resume on Cyprus, the President replied “it would have been easier for me to put down as a requisite to start negotiations the end of guarantees, the withdrawal of occupation troops, territorial adjustments and everything that has happened against the Greek Cypriot community. Therefore, it is not a matter who sets preconditions. It is not only what the Turkish Cypriots will take. It is, at least, what they are ready to accept based on international law”.
Turkey invaded Cyprus on July 20, 1974. Numerous UN backed talks to reunite the island have failed to yield results. A 5+1 Informal Meeting that took place in Geneva, on April 27-29, failed to find enough common ground to allow for the resumption of formal negotiations in relation to the settlement of the Cyprus problem.
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.
On October 8, 2020, the Turkish side opened part of the fenced area of Varosha, following an announcement made in Ankara on October 6. Both the UN Secretary-General and the EU expressed concern, while the UN Security Council called for the reversal of this course of action.