United Nations (Associated Press)-On Thursday, the United Nations Security Council again asked Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots to immediately cancel all actions to reopen the abandoned resort Varosha and support further negotiations on the reunification of the divided Mediterranean islands “in the near future” .
In a resolution passed unanimously, the Security Council extended the UN peacekeeping mission in Cyprus for six months, emphasizing the “need to avoid any unilateral actions that may cause tension on the island and undermine the prospects for a peaceful settlement.”
After the Turkish invasion in 1974, the island was split into separate Turkish Cypriots in the north and internationally recognized Greek Cypriots in the south. This was triggered by a coup that aimed to unite Cyprus and Greece. Cyprus is a member of the European Union, but the North Separation is only recognized by Turkey, which is not a member of the European Union.
Varosha is a suburb of Famagusta. The city was the tourist center of Cyprus until 1974, thanks to its pristine beaches and modern hotels. After 15,000 Greek Cypriot residents in Varosha fled in the face of advancing Turkish troops, the area was fenced to prevent anyone from entering, until the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot authorities announced a “reopening” in October last year.
Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar subsequently announced on July 20 that the 3.5 square kilometers (1.35 square miles) of Varosha would be restored from military control to civilian control. He did it before Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan participated in the military parade commemorating the 47th anniversary of the Turkish invasion.
The Security Council resolution reiterated that “No action against Varosha that violated the 1984 and 1992 resolutions requiring it to be transferred to the United Nations administration”-this did not happen-and expressed any attempt to resolve any part of Varosha “Anyone other than its residents” is “unacceptable.”
The council issued a presidential statement on Varosha on July 23, which is one step behind a legally binding resolution.
The former residents of Varosha condemned the latest move to take advantage of their despair in the future of the area and psychologically force them to sell their properties. Many Turkish Cypriots also condemned the move to undermine the ongoing reconciliation efforts between the two communities.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres held informal talks with Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders in Geneva in April. Those who failed to make progress on the island’s future, but the UN Secretary-General said the talks will continue, “I will not give up.”
Both Turkey’s Erdogan and the Turkish Cypriot leader Tatar stated that the permanent peace of Cyprus can only be achieved through the recognition of the two independent countries by the international community, thus subverting decades of negotiations to achieve political equality. Under the circumstances, a unified agreement based on the federation was reached.
The Council noted on Thursday that “unfortunately, it failed to find enough common ground at the (April) meeting to resume formal negotiations at this time.” But it “fully” supports the ongoing efforts of the Secretary-General, “and the various The party agreed to hold another round of informal talks in the near future.”
The Security Council reaffirmed the importance of all participants “in the spirit of openness, flexibility and compromise to conduct these talks, and demonstrate the necessary political will and commitment to freely negotiate and reach a mutually acceptable solution under the auspices of the United Nations.”
On another controversial issue, Cyprus claims to have oil and gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean waters. The Security Council noted that the “tensions have eased” over hydrocarbons, emphasized that the dispute should be resolved peacefully, and called on the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish people. The Cypriots “avoid any actions and speeches that might damage the reconciliation process.”
The committee stated that it still believes that “a comprehensive and lasting solution will bring many important benefits, including economic benefits, to all Cypriots and the wider region.”
The United Nations peacekeeping force in Cyprus, known as UNFICYP, was originally established by the Security Council in 1964 to prevent further fighting between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. After the Turkish invasion in 1974, it assumed other responsibilities, including monitoring the ceasefire line, maintaining the buffer zone, and carrying out humanitarian activities.
The resolution extended the mandate of peacekeeping missions with more than 1,000 personnel to January 31, 2022.
It “expressed serious concerns about the continued violation of the military status quo along the ceasefire line, the reported intrusion of the two sides into the buffer zone and its associated risks, and the increase in unauthorized construction.”
“Cyprus” United Nations Ambassador Andreas Hadjichrysanthou called UNFICYP “indispensable” and welcomed the resolution to reiterate the “serious and dangerous” situation in Varosha and called for the permission of UN peacekeepers to go there.
He said that Cyprus is ready to resume negotiations on the basis of a bi-ethnic and bi-regional federation of political equality. It still believes that “without external intervention, the reunified and independent Cyprus will resolve the concerns of all Cypriots”.