The government’s position against any changes to the status quo is steadfast, according to its spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis.
“We are not even going to discuss any planning that calls into question the status of the buffer zone,” he said on Wednesday.
His statement came to journalists who were asking about a potential “exchange” agreement whereby the road between Pyla and Arsos is opened to facilitate easier travel northwards for Pyla’s Turkish Cypriot residents, while a checkpoint at Pyroi is opened to cut journey times between Athienou and Nicosia.
“The issue of the Athienou-Pyroi checkpoint has been repeatedly raised by the president and it is an issue he has raised recently,” Letymbiotis added.
Meanwhile it was reported on Wednesday that the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus (Unficyp) Colin Stewart is continuing contacts with both sides so as to find a mutually acceptable solution over the Pyla buffer zone.
Cyprus News Agency cited sources close to the matter assuring that diplomatic efforts were ongoing. The situation on the ground however remains calm with Unficyp forces on the ground are closely monitoring.
Assistant Secretary-General for Europe, Central Asia and the Americas, Miroslav Jenča is expected to arrive to Cyprus on Sunday.
He is scheduled to hold separate meetings with President Nikos Christodoulides and Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar on Monday.
The UN described it a violation of international law, while the UN security council said it expected “an immediate end to the illegal actions of the Turkish side”.
Part of Jenča’s aim is to assess the possibility of Christodoulides and Tatar having a joint meeting with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in New York next month.
Tatar had previously turned down Christodoulides’ proposal to have a common meeting with Jenča during his upcoming visit.
The UN official on Tuesday will take a helicopter from Nicosia to the buffer zone in Famagusta where he will meet Slovak peacekeeping forces, before he departs from Cyprus.
Elsewhere, Bulent Bebek, the mayor of the village of Pergamos, where the current closest checkpoint to Pyla is located, has accused the British of “causing difficulties” in the area.
He said it takes as much as an hour to pass through the checkpoint in his village, and claims that the British base administration has been dragging its heels over plans to widen the road and upgrade the checkpoint.
He added that he sees the current customs situation in Pyla as unfair.
“The Greek Cypriots can bring the products they want from the south to Pyla unchecked, duty free, and unhindered, while the Turkish side must face procedures, checks, and pressures when they want to do this,” he said.
“The aim here is to isolate Turkish Cypriots and blockade them.”
Last week 12 UN peacekeepers were violently pushed back from their positions in the buffer zone by Turkish Cypriot military and police in plain clothes. One was punched in the face and three treated for minor injuries, after they tried to block the unauthorised construction of a road through the buffer zone between the mixed village of Pyla and Arsos by Turkish Cypriot authorities.
UN vehicles which were blocking access to the road were dragged out of the way by tractors, while other vehicles were rammed off the road.