UNFICYP must stay as long as there are Turkish troops in Cyprus, Government Spokesman says

The government of Cyprus expects that the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) will continue its mission as long as there are Turkish occupation troops on the island, Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said on Saturday.

Asked by CNA to comment on a letter addressed by the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci, to the Security Council, Prodromou said the government would like to avoid confrontation ahead of Jane Holl Lute’s visit in her capacity as personal envoy of the UN Secretary-General.

Ahead of the forthcoming visit by the UN SG’s envoy to test the ground, with a view to resuming negotiations, we don’t wish to contribute towards a confrontational climate and therefore we will not comment on allegations, aiming at accepting and normalizing the Turkish occupation and division of Cyprus, he noted.

Prodromou said however that allegations contained in Akinci’s letter would have been valid, had the Turkish army terminated the occupation of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus.

Negotiations and the peace process aim towards this, the termination of Turkish occupation, in line with UN resolutions, the Government Spokesman went on. We look forward to the meeting with Lute. President Anastasiades will present there our position in a constructive manner Prodomou underlined and said he expected the Turkish Cypriot side to also be constructive.

With regard to the peacekeeping force, Prodromou said its activity and presence were a decisive factor of stability all these years. We expect the peacekeeping force to continue its mission as long as there are Turkish occupation troops in Cyprus he added and concluded by saying that this position has been already conveyed by the Republic of Cyprus.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. A UN-backed Conference on Cyprus last summer in the Swiss resort of Crans Montana, aiming to reunify the island under a federal roof, ended inconclusively.

Source: Cyprus News Agency