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Efforts underway to ease tension after flag removal

A still photo of the teen taking the flag caught on CCTV

Efforts are being made to ease tension, after an incident involving the removal of a Turkish flag by a 16-year-old Greek Cypriot in the village of Lysi in the north, with the UN facilitating the exchange of messages between the two sides, the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) reported on Saturday.

From the Greek Cypriot side, the initiative to alleviate tension is being undertaken at civilian level, without government involvement, CNA said.

Asked to comment on the matter, Unficyp spokesperson Aleem Siddique told CNA that “the incident has been brought to our attention by the Turkish Cypriot side and we are following up. We are liaising with both sides on this matter.”

Apart from facilitating the exchange of messages between the two sides, the UN did not comment whether the matter is close to being settled. No announcement is expected regarding this issue by the UN.

The Turkish Cypriot side announced on Thursday that efforts are being made through the UN to return a Turkish flag and a picture of former Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash that were removed by the teen from a school in Lysi last Sunday.

Many Greek Cypriots visited the village in the Turkish-occupied part of Famagusta District to attend a religious service at the local church for the first time in 45 years.

Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said on Friday that the issue must not be politicised.

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