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Draft UNSC Presidential Statement on Varosha ‘condemns announcement by Turkish and Turkish Cypriot leaders’

varosha

A new draft UN Security Council Presidential Statement about the Turkish announcements regarding the fenced off city of Famagusta (Varosha) has been presented by the UK.

The draft statement, which says that “the Security Council condemns the announcement in Cyprus by Turkish and Turkish Cypriot leaders on 20 July 2021 on the further reopening of a part of the fenced-off area of Varosha”, has been put under the silence procedure until 0900 local time (1600 Cyprus time).

Deliberations were underway on Thursday between London and Nicosia and between London and Washington after the silence procedure was broken by China, India and Ireland.  They were asking for a certain amendment and for the statement to note that there has been a violation of the UN resolutions and statements.

The US State Department has firmly advocated for a strong reaction by the Security Council on Varosha.

Consultations have also been scheduled at the Security Council for the renewal of the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) mandate.

The draft statement by the President of the Security Council says that: “The Security-Council reaffirms the statement of its President of 9 October 2020 (S/PRST/2020/9) on Varosha.

The Security Council reaffirms the status of Varosha as set out in previous United Nations Security Council resolutions, including resolution 550 (1984) and resolution 789 (1992). The Security Council reiterates that any attempts to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants is inadmissible and that no actions should be carried out in relation to Varosha that are not in accordance with its resolutions.

The Security Council condemns the announcement in Cyprus by Turkish and Turkish Cypriot leaders on 20 July 2021 on the further reopening of a part of the fenced-off area of Varosha. The Security Council expresses its deep regret regarding these unilateral actions that run contrary to its previous resolutions and statements.

The Security Council calls for the immediate reversal of this course of action and the reversal of all steps taken on Varosha since October 2020. The Security Council underscores the need to avoid any further unilateral actions not in accordance with its resolutions and that could raise tensions on the island and could harm prospects for a settlement.

The Security Council stresses the importance of full respect and implementation of its resolutions, including the transfer of Varosha to UN administration, and of respect for UNF1CYP’s freedom of movement.

The Security Council reaffirms its commitment to an enduring, comprehensive and just settlement in accordance with the wishes of the Cypriot people, and based on a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality, as set out in relevant Security Council resolutions, and its support for the Secretary-General’s efforts.

The Security Council shall remain seized of the matter.”

On July 20 the Turkish side announced a partial lifting of the military status in Varosha, the fenced off section of the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta.

Turkey invaded Cyprus on July 20, 1974. Numerous UN backed talks to reunite the island have failed to yield results.

UN Security Council resolution 550 (1984) considers any 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 UN. UN Security Council resolution 789 (1992) also urges that with a view to the implementation of resolution 550 (1984), the area at present under the control of the United Nations Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus be extended to include Varosha.

On October 8, 2020, the Turkish side opened part of the fenced area of Varosha, following an announcement made in Ankara on October 6. Both the UN Secretary-General and the EU expressed concern, while the UN Security Council called for the reversal of this course of action.

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