Nicosia has expressed its hope that work in Pyla will resume as soon as possible, after the short pause requested by the United Nations yesterday. It also pointed out that provisions of the understanding between the Cyprus Republic and the UNFICYP are not amenable to any misinterpretation. Government Spokesperson Konstantinos Letymbiotis told the press that yesterday there was a reaction from the Turkish side in Pyla and this is part of its continuous efforts to challenge the status of the buffer zone. He reiterated that this was also one of the main reasons why we took the initiative to reach the common understanding. The Spokesperson said that we are in constant contact with the United Nations adding that they asked for a short break in work from all sides so that there can be a diplomatic way out, ‘a diplomatic solution’. He said that we expect that the UN will coordinate and implement the provisions of the understanding. In response to a question, Letymbotis said that the peacekeeping force has a certain mission in the buffer zone as it is described in the UN Security Council resolutions and oversees the work in Pyla from the beginning. “We believe that work will be able to resume as soon as possible,” he said. He recalled that the international community reacted when the incidents took place last summer and diplomatic efforts were underway on our side. Letymbiotis said that the consensus reached was described as a major confidence-building measure, because the regime in Pyla was at challenge by the Turkish occupying forces for years. He also said that we have the determination and political will to implement the provisions of the understanding and we are also ready to get back to the negotiating table. He called on the other side to do the same. Regarding the appointment of an UN envoy and in relation to the Turkish Cypriot leader’s comment on a six month time horizon for his appointment, the Government Spokesperson said that we have been informed through reports on his statements and in no way can we reach conclusions on what he meant. But he went on to say that no terms and timetables can be put into the mission of the envoy who will be charged with the task of exploring the prospects of resuming the peace talks from were they left off. He went on to say that what he can say is that “we hope that the envoy will not need six months, so that as soon as possible the negotiations can be resumed.” In another question about the terms of the mandate of the envoy and if this envoy will carry on after the talks have resumed, Letymbiotis said that this is an issue to be decided upon by the UNSG. In August 2023, the Turkish Cypriot side unilaterally announced its intention to build the road through the buffer zone between the villages of Pyla and occupied Arsos. Turkish Cypriots and settlers entered the buffer zone and attacked personnel and vehicles of UNFICYP. A peacekeeper was punched in the face. The international community, including five permanent members of the UN Security Council, condemned the attack. Later on, discussions began aiming at resolving the issue. According to an understanding that has been reached for Pyla, a single urban development area will be created, which will ensure the harmonious coexistence of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots in the area of Pyla and, will include, among other things, a large area of residential development, the paving of a road leading towards Troulloi village, the creation of photovoltaic parks and the expansion of the urban use area of the village. 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.
Source: Cyprus News Agency