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Government to take measures over Spitfire issue

Photo: CNA

The Republic of Cyprus will take measures if UN efforts to resolve a standoff with the Turkish military over a derelict building in the heart of Nicosia did not yield any results, the government spokesman said on Tuesday.

“Despite our repeated and strong reactions on many levels at the UN, and despite actions by the UN to solve the problem, unfortunately, there have not been any positive results to date,” Kyriacos Koushios said.

He said the government would not accept any more fait accompli.

Koushios said the government expected developments soon but he did not elaborate on the nature of the measures it was planning on taking.

“Let us wait for the UN actions to see if they work; the government is prepared to take certain measures if we do not get the positive results we expect,” he said.

The Nicosia Municipality said last Friday it had stopped work to shore up Spitfire coffeeshop, a dilapidated building on Paphos Gate, after its crews were repeatedly harassed by Turkish troops.

The building, which had been turned into a defensive position by the Turkish military, lies in an area the divided communities had agreed in the past to demilitarise.

In front of the building is a busy thoroughfare used by hundreds of vehicles and pedestrians on a daily basis. It is understood that the road acts as the buffer zone between the two sides.

Work to support the crumbling building, which housed the iconic coffeeshop, had started last week under the supervision of UN peacekeepers.

The municipality said despite its good cooperation with the Turkish Cypriots, as part of the Nicosia Master Plan, the interventions and harassment by the Turkish military were not prevented.

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