President expresses regret over non-return of Famagusta despite Greek Cypriot efforts

President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades expressed regret over the fact that Famagusta, the fenced off city since the 1974 Turkish invasion, has not been returned to its legal inhabitants according to UN Security Council resolutions 550 and 789.

“Despite tireless efforts we were faced with Turkish intransigence,” Anastasiades said, while addressing a ceremony in Deryneia to reveal a sculpture commemorating the contribution of members and athletes of Evagoras gymnastic club to the nation’s struggles, as well as the fallen and those who went missing during the 1974 Turkish invasion.

Anastasiades also expressed regret “for failure due to Turkish intransigence, to reach an acceptable solution, a functional and viable solution which would rid us of anachronistic guarantees, intervention rights and the presence of occupying forces and of Cyprus transforming into a country dependent on Turkey, through the settlement of our occupied homeland.”

The worst of all, he added, “is that Turkey’s revisionist aims, with the tolerance of the international community and many others who play a role in the world political order, have not averted developments on the ground.”

He also said that it will not be long before Turkey is called to pay the price, otherwise, he added, Europe and other countries of the region, will be called to pay it, such as the Greek islands, Syria, Iraq Libya, Armenia or Nagorno Karabakh.

“Europe is facing one challenge after the other,” he said, citing developments in Finland and Sweden who want to join NATO, which are blocked by Turkey.

“This cannot continue and it cannot leave us indifferent,” Anastasiades went on to say.

On his part Simos Ioannou, Mayor of occupied Famagusta, said the occupying regime’s moves to open the fenced-off city of Varosha “ravages the soul” of every citizen of Famagusta.

“We have the highest responsibility to keep hope and the future alive to vindicate the sacrifices of all those young men from Cyprus and Greece who have fallen in the name of freedom by bringing peace to our country,” he said.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. 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.

The Turkish Cypriot leadership announced in July 2021 a partial lifting of the military status in Varosha. A few months earlier, on October 8, 2020, the Turkish side opened part of the fenced area of Varosha, following an announcement made in Ankara on October 6. The UN Security Council called for the reversal of this course of action, while the UN Secretary General, in his latest report on his mission of good offices in Cyprus, reiterated his concern over developments in the fenced-off area, noting that the position of the UN on Varosha remains unchanged. The EU also expressed grave concern.

Source: Cyprus News Agency