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Anastasiades calls for more clarity from UN on Varosha issue

anastasiades guterres
File photo: President Nicos Anastasiades with UNSG Antonio Guterres in Brussels last month

President Nicos Anastasiades on Sunday said he would have liked more clarity by UN Secretary-General (UNSG) Antonio Guterres on the issue of Varosha in his latest report to the Security Council.

In statements to the media, after the 10th memorial service for the 13 victims of the blast at the Evangelos Florakis naval base in Mari, invited to comment on the draft report of the UNSG on Cyprus, Anastasiades said that its context is being evaluated point by point, and any comments will be conveyed to the UN in the coming days.

Invited to comment on the UNSG’s reference in his latest Good Offices mission report to “equal inherent rights”, Anastasiades said that it is well known that in the Joint Declaration of February 11,  2014, and the Constitution of 1960, a form of inherent rights is being recognised for the people of Cyprus, either Turkish Cypriots or Greek Cypriots.

Guterres said in his report, an unofficial copy of which was given to the Security Council members on Friday, that both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, “deserve to live in peace and prosperity together in the exercise of their equal inherent rights.”

Asked about the timing of such a reference by the UNSG, Anastasiades said that he is not a UN spokesperson, but that “this is probably an appropriate version of what the Turkish Cypriots, misinterpreting, want to turn into sovereign equality.” He was referring to the Turkish Cypriot leadership’s and Turkey’s insistence on the recognition of the north’s sovereignty and a two-state solution instead of the agreed, federal one.

On the issue of Famagusta and the announced visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the north on July 20, Anastasiades said that the National Council will convene on July 14.

He said they will discuss the whole situation, how conditions are being shaped, “and of course any threats expressed through Erdogan’s statements or Turkey’s actions concerning settlement (in Varosha) or further steps that change the status quo in Famagusta,” he said.

He also said he would have liked more clarity from Guterres on the issue of Famagusta and in general.

He said though Guterres makes references to the issue of Varosha, the UN need to end “this diplomatic way of referring to unacceptable events, which, unfortunately, often allows this to be perceived as tolerance.”

Referring to Varosha in his report, Guterres said that during the reporting period, there were repeated instances where Turkish Cypriot and Turkish officials publicly stated their intention to develop Varosha in such a way that would, in their view, strengthen the economy in the north, including through attracting tourism. He added that these statements and developments on the ground triggered objections from Greek Cypriots who cited violations of Security Council resolutions as well as the 9 October 2020 Security Council presidential statement on the issue. He said developments in Varosha continue to be observed, reiterated his concern over developments in the fenced-off area of the town and recalled that the position of the United Nations remains unchanged.

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