The opening of a crossing point cannot constitute the solution of the Cyprus problem, says Famagusta Mayor

Famagusta Mayor Alexis Galanos has said that the opening of a crossing point between the government controlled and the occupied part of Cyprus could not constitute the settlement of the Cyprus problem, noting that all agreed Confidence Building Measures were welcome, provided they were serving both communities and creating conditions for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem.

Speaking at a press conference, Galanos expressed his concern for the fact that the Turkish side was preparing to open the beach at Agios Memnonas in the occupied town of Famagusta for Turkish people and Turkish Cypriots, at a time that a new crossing point at Dherynia was ready to open. He expressed the view that due to this development related to the opening of the beach, the President of the Republic should consider postponing the opening of the crossing point.

As he said, the opening of the crossing point would be helpful if the Turkish side saw it as step towards opening the fenced off city of Famagusta (Varosha) and bringing people closer. On the other hand, he said, if the Turkish side was seeing the opening of the crossing point as a way to increase tourism in the occupied areas and for people to settle in the fenced off part of Famagusta, then, as he noted, this would constitute an expansion of the Turkish occupation.

“I do not think it is a coincidence that they are preparing to open the beach in Agios Memnon at the same time that the crossing point is ready to open. This is not a goodwill move, “he said, adding that such unilateral actions, were not facilitating efforts to find a solution to the Cyprus problem.

He added that it was wrong that the issue of Famagusta was addressed a simple Confidence Building Measure along with other measures. He recalled that the return of the legitimate residents to their town is provided by UN Security Council resolutions and decisions.

He called on the government to raise the issue of Famagusta strongly and urgently and to ask the UN Secretary-General to decisively address the issue of returning Famagusta to its legitimate inhabitants.

He also noted that it’s the UN Secretary-General’s obligation to implement the UN Charter and resolutions.

Galanos pointed out that the issue of Famagusta should be addressed as a separate issue, once Cyprus talks resume.

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

Varosha, the fenced � off part of Famagusta has been sealed since the 1974 Turkish invasion and according to the UN the Turkish military is responsible for it. Repeated attempts to hand the area to UN administration and its Greek Cypriot lawful inhabitants have so far failed due to the stance of the Turkish army.

UNSC resolution 550 (1984) considers 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 United Nations.

The latest round of UN-peace talks commenced at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana on June 28 last year, but in the early hours of July 7, 2017, it was announced that the Conference on Cyprus ended without an agreement. Talks held under the auspices of the UN aim at reuniting Cyprus under a federal roof.

Source: Cyprus News Agency