The Law Office of the Republic said Monday it is providing the government with legal advice on how to handle the issue of the fenced-off town of Varosha on the back of reports that authorities in the north plan to open up the area to public access.
Attorney-general Giorgos Savvides told reporters that his office, and with the assistance of foreign legal advisors, are in “continuous consultation with the foreign ministry, and the government in general, in providing legal advice and support concerning the matter of Famagusta.”
Reports said the attorney-general’s office has set up a dedicated team to explore what legal measures, if any, the Republic of Cyprus can take concerning developments in Famagusta.
A day earlier, news broke that a new part of the Golden Coast beach in Varosha, stretching to the Venus hotel, was almost ready.
The beach is where Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan visited in November last year, having a ‘picnic’ with Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar and his wife.
A pathway to the beach planted with palm trees has been completed and a place selling drinks and snacks has been created but is not open yet.
Beach umbrellas and sunbeds have been set up on the beach although it has not yet been opened to the public.
Part of the beach in the fenced city of Varosha has been in operation since 1975 in addition to three beachfront hotels but only for members of the Turkish army. This area is still fenced off to the public, and people are not allowed to pass through it to get to the new stretch of beach.
Since part of the fenced-off area was opened in October last year, the streets that are now accessible have been cleaned up although it is not possible to enter any of the building as they have been roped off and CCTV cameras installed.
On October 8 part of Varosha became accessible to the broader public for the first time in 46 years. The move was met with widespread condemnation leaving the government to declare it would report the matter to the EU, UN and other international fora.
Varosha has been a military area since the 1974 invasion but has always been thought of as the first Confidence Building Measure (CBM) to be taken once the process of solving the Cyprus problem would be activated.
Legally it has been part of the status quo.
The fenced-off area of Famagusta-Varosha, has enjoyed a special status under UN Security Council Resolutions
Resolution 550 (1984) states: “…5. 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; 6. Considers any attempts to interfere with the status or the deployment of the United Nations Peace – Keeping Force in Cyprus as contrary to the resolutions of the United Nations;…”