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EU chief ‘shares concerns about Turkey’s illegal actions in Varosha’

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen

The president of the EU Commission shares President Nicos Anastasiades’ intense concerns about Turkey’s illegal actions in Varosha, government spokesman Marios Pelekanos said on Thursday.

In a letter replying to the president, Ursula von der Leyen also voiced support for a package of confidence building measures proposed by Anastasiades, Pelekanos added.

Outlined by Anastasiades in May, the measures include the return of legal residents to Varosha – the fenced area of Famagusta that has remained inaccessible since the 1974 invasion but which the Turkish Cypriot regime has since October 2020, started to open.

Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar has dismissed Anastasiades’ package and countered with his own proposals which the Greek Cypriot side described as a new attempt for a two-state solution.

According to Pelekanos, in her letter Von der Leyen reiterated the EU’s condemnation of the Turkish side’s decision to open the fenced city and extend access on the coastal front. She also asked for a reversal of all illegal Turkish actions in Varosha since October 2020.

At the same time, the Commission president reaffirmed the EU’s support for UN security council resolutions on Varosha. Underlining that any attempt to settle any part of the town by people other than its legal inhabitants was unacceptable, she asked that the area is transferred to UN administration.

She also noted the need for all involved to contribute to the effort for a settlement of the Cyprus issue, including its external aspects based on the agreed UN framework as well as the EU acquis and values.

The EU Commission will continue efforts to create a climate favourable to the resumption of the negotiations, she added.

As regards the confidence building measures proposed by the president, Von der Leyen reiterated her support saying these would help restore trust between the two communities and facilitate a return to the negotiating table with the aim of a Cyprus settlement based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality, in line with UN resolutions.

She also expressed the hope that the Turkish Cypriot side will respond constructively to the proposed confidence building measures.

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