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China says UN has rejected north’s request for separate agreement with Unficyp

Unficyp soldiers in the buffer zone (CNA)

A request by the Turkish Cypriot side to conclude a “status of the forces agreement” (SOFA) with Unficyp has been rejected by the UN Secretariat, China’s ambassador, Liu Yantao, said on Friday.

He also said that according to the information available to Beijing, “no country or region” has been admitted to the Organisation of Turkic States, either as an observer or a member, during a recent summit in Samarkand.

Addressing a press conference through an interpreter, at the Chinese embassy in Nicosia, the ambassador, said that China, which coordinates with the UN Secretariat, learned that “the Secretariat rejected the so-called SOFA agreement” concerning Unficyp.

China is one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council along with France, Russia, the US and Britain.

In a written statement to CNA, the Chinese Embassy said: “We have not received information from the UN Secretariat that it intends to sign a status of the forces agreement with the area of ‘North Cyprus’. There are clear UN rules already in place concerning the signing of such agreements on the status of the forces with the host countries. The Chinese side supports that whether a relevant agreement will be signed depends on existing UN rules and at the same time the position and will of the government of Cyprus must be respected.”

Ambassador Liu also said that the Chinese side was informed about the announcement by the Turkish President, on November 10 concerning the acceptance of the secessionist, illegal entity in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus, as an observer in the Organisation of Turkic States (OTS) during a summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

He said China had requested information from Uzbekistan. The ambassador also pointed to an announcement by the Uzbek foreign minister. On the basis of this information “there has been no change in the organisation’s charter” at Samarkand, nor was a “country or region” admitted to the organisation, either as an observer or a member, Liu said.

“As far as we know, OTS member states agree that sovereign countries can become members. Therefore they did not agree that the area of northern Cyprus could join the organisation” the ambassador added.

The embassy in this written statement noted that some OTS members had expressed their support for international law and respect towards the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries.

China, the announcement added, follows closely developments in relation to the Cyprus issue and “maintains from the beginning an objective and fair stance, supporting all efforts by Cyprus to maintain its sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

“As a UN Security Council permanent member China has played and will to continue to play a constructive role to facilitate a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Cyprus issue within the framework of UN resolutions and in line with a bizonal bicommunal federal solution” the announcement concluded.

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