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Prolonged inactivity in Cyprus talks could lead to permanent division, Famagusta municipality warns

August 14, 2019 at 3:11pm
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Famagusta Municipality has warned that the prolonged inactivity in the Cyprus talks could lead to the occupied areas’ gradual annexation with Turkey and the permanent division of the island.

The municipality’s council convened on Wednesday on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of the Turkish occupation of Famagusta and approved a resolution calling for a solution that will reunite the country and the people, restore and secure the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Cypriots and allow for the town’s return to its lawful inhabitants.

It said the Cyprus problem continues to remain at its most critical stage with time and the prolonged inactivity proving to be factors that could lead to the gradual annexation of the occupied areas with Turkey and the island’s permanent division.

The resolution notes that it supports the resumption of the UN backed negotiations, adding that this procedure is the only way for a peaceful resolution of the Cyprus issue. It also describes as positive the result of the two leaders’ meeting on 9th August and that it looks forward to a resumption of the dialogue with the aim to reach an agreed settlement.

It points out that the return of Famagusta is primarily a humanitarian issue and disagrees with any actions that aim at legitimising or making permanent the current status quo.

The resolution considers the illegal Turkish actions inside Cyprus’ EEZ and the entry of Turkish officials in the fenced off area of Famagusta (Varosha) as well as statements to open the town under EVKAF as unacceptable and that they do not contribute in fostering an atmosphere that will allow for the resumption of the negotiations.

The so-called foreign minister Kudret Ozersay recently led a group inside the fenced off area to inventory decaying buildings as part of a land registry study to determine ownership of properties by Greek Cypriots and the Muslim community trust, the EVKAF which claims substantial ownership.

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 European Court of Human Rights has on numerous occasions in cases brought forward by Greek Cypriots found Turkey has violated their property rights.

Varosha , the fenced-off part of the once thriving holiday resort of Famagusta, on the eastern coast of Cyprus, 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 legal 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’.

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.

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades sent on June 26 a letter to the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, in which he explains that the plans announced recently in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus, concerning Varosha, constitute part of Turkey’s plan B, after the deadlock at the Conference on Cyprus in Crans-Montana.

(Cyprus News Agency)