UNSC condemns plan to reopen northern Cyprus resort Varosha | News Europe

The UN Security Council calls for an “immediate reversal” of the decision by Turkey and Turkish Cypriots to reopen part of Varohsa.

The UN Security Council has condemned the decision by Turkey and Turkish Cypriots to reopen a residential section of an abandoned suburb and called for “immediate reversal” of this unilateral action, warning that it could raise tensions over the divided Mediterranean island.

A presidential statement approved by all 15 council members at an open meeting on Friday reiterated that any attempt to resolve any part of the outskirts of Varosha “by people other than its inhabitants is inadmissible.”

“The Security Council calls for the immediate reversal of this course of action and the reversal of all measures taken on Varosha since October 2020,” the 15-member body said on Friday.

The adoption of the statement followed on Wednesday a closed-door meeting at the council by the outgoing UN special representative which focused on the announcement by Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar that a Varosha section of 3, 5 square kilometers (1.35 square miles) will return from military to civilian. control.

He did so in front of a military parade attended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to commemorate the 47th anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

On a trip to northern Nicosia on Tuesday, Erdogan said half a century of UN efforts had failed and that there should be “two peoples and two states with equal status.”

The United States has expressed concern that its remarks would have a “shocking effect” on UN-led efforts for a solution in Cyprus.

“The Security Council underlines the need to avoid any other unilateral action not in line with its resolutions and that could raise tensions on the island and damage the prospects for an agreement,” the council said.

People spend time at sea in the fenced area of ​​Varosha in the town of Famagusta in the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) of the divided Mediterranean island of Cyprus [File: Iakovos Hatzistavrou/AFP]

Ankara dismissed the conviction

Turkey’s foreign minister rejected the Council’s statement and the statements of some countries, saying they were based on unfounded claims, inconsistent with the realities of Cyprus.

“These statements are based on black Greek-Greek Cypriot propaganda and unfounded claims,” the statement said.

He said Varosha was part of the territory of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which is recognized only by Ankara, and that it had not been opened to the establishment.

All TRNC decisions respect property rights and are in full compliance with international law, he added.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded in response to an abortive coup by the then army in Athens that aimed to unite the island with Greece.

An estimated 17,000 Greek Cypriot residents of Varosha fled the advance of Turkish troops in 1974. Since then, it has remained empty, sealed with barbed wire and entrance signs. UN resolutions have called for the area to be handed over to the administration by the international body.

“The Security Council underlines the importance of full respect and implementation of its resolutions, including the transfer of Varosha to the UN administration,” the council said Friday.

Under the terms of a 2004 UN reunification plan, Varosha was one of the areas that would be returned to its inhabitants under the Greek Cypriot administration.

The plan, which details reunification under a complex power-sharing agreement, was rejected in a referendum by Greek Cypriots.

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