Government welcomes EU active involvement on Cyprus following Michel’s initiative

The Cyprus government welcomes the active involvement of the EU in efforts to solve the Cyprus issue, following the initiative of the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, to contact the UN Secretary-General, in order to discuss the block’s contribution.

Michel expressed his intention during a meeting with the President of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, on Wednesday in Brussels.

Speaking to CNA, Deputy Government Spokesman Panayiotis Sentonas said that the Union’s increased involvement reflects the position of the President of Cyprus and highlights the Union’s important role in efforts to reunify the island.

Sentonas added that Nicosia also seeks EU engagement with regard to everything that is happening in the Eastern Mediterranean.

He went on to say that Nicosia continues its efforts on all levels, by keeping the EU leadership in Brussels informed. Moreover, he said that President Anastasiades sent a letter to the UN Secretary-General regarding the issue of Famagusta.

In his letter to Antonio Guterres, the President refers to Turkey’s unlawful activities and highlights Ankara’s violations of the relevant Security Council resolutions, noting that all these actions undermine the effort to create the necessary environment that will allow the resumption of settlement talks, Sentonas added.

According to the Deputy Government Spokesman, in his letter, President Anastasiades repeats his proposal on Famagusta, that was submitted in the past to Guterres. The Turkish Cypriot leader was also made aware of this proposal, concerning the creation of a Technical Committee tasked with the reconstruction and resettlement of the fenced-off part of Famagusta, he added.

The President of Cyprus suggests to man the Committee with Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots and foreign experts, who will carry out an inventory and draft technical studies, aiming at the city’s reconstruction. In doing do, they could also benefit from EU funds, Sentonas went on.

In the framework of the same proposal, the President also refers to the need to demilitarize Varosha, the fenced-off part of Famagusta and hand them over to the UN, on the basis of the relevant Security Council resolutions.

All these steps aim at allowing the legal residents of the city to resettle there, as part of the broader efforts for a Cyprus settlement, the Deputy Spokesman concluded.

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.

Last Saturday, the Turkish Bar Association organized a round table meeting, which was held in Varosha for the first time since 1974, and was attended by Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay and Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul, among others. Oktay stated that Varosha belongs to the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime, and took part in a tour of the fenced-off part of Famagusta.

Efforts over the years for the legitimate citizens of Famagusta to return to the city have met with the refusal of the Turkish side, despite numerous decisions and resolutions by the UN, EU and other international institutions.

UN Security Council resolution 550 (1984) considers any attempts to settle any part of Varosha (the fenced off area of Famagusta) by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible and calls for the transfer of this area to the administration of the UN.

Source: Cyprus News Agency