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Guterres says ‘deeply concerned’ about Varosha move (Updated)

first day of the european union summit in brussels
Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres

All members of the UN Security Council expressed strong concern over developments on Varosha on Wednesday, after the Secretary General’s special representative in Cyprus briefed council members.

Diplomatic sources told the Cyprus News Agency that the reaction from the American, Irish, Chinese and Indian representatives was particularly strong

Elisabeth Spehar briefed the Security Council on Antonio Guterres’ reports on Unficyp and his Good Offices in Cyprus, as well as the latest developments in Varosha.

During the Security Council meeting members there were interventions from the US, Ireland, China, and India. Most members expressed support for a solution to the Cyprus issue based on UN resolutions, with Russia being very vocal.

Diplomatic sources said Spehar conveyed that there does not seem to be a way out in the negotiations but did not reveal what the Secretariat intends to do on the matter.

A council member quoted Spehar as telling members that the SC resolutions need to be looked at from a wider perspective otherwise they are restrictive.

The majority of the members called for stronger wording in the draft presidential statement which was handed out by Britain. According to some members, Britain tried to put pressure on the SC for the document to be approved by the end of Wednesday’s discussions without allowing time for deliberations.

Members were given until 4pm local time to come up with amendments. Britain failed to forward a new draft after the deadline. Diplomatic sources said a new document was expected to be sent out to members on Wednesday evening or by Thursday morning with a new deadline to members to send in their observations.

Speaking after the discussion, the spokesman of the UN secretary-general said Antonio Guterres was deeply concerned by the decision by the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey to open part of the fenced area of Varosha for settlement.

“The secretary-general has repeatedly called on all parties to refrain from unilateral actions that provoke tensions and may compromise the ongoing efforts to seek common ground between the parties towards a lasting settlement of the Cyprus issue,” spokesperson Farhan Haq said.

Haq said the position of the United Nations on Varosha remains unchanged and is guided by the relevant Security Council resolutions.

The Turkish side announced earlier in the week it would demilitarise 3.5 per cent of the fenced area of Varosha and make it a residential area and called on refugees to submit their claims about their properties through the immovable properties commission (IPC).

The IPC was set up by Turkey in the north as a domestic remedy.

 

 

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