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Pyla agreement wins universal praise

A UN vehicle is pushed out of the way by a Turkish Cypriot vehicle in Pyla
UN vehicle pushed out of the way by a Turkish Cypriot vehicle in Pyla in August

The government has “succeeded in turning a crisis into an opportunity,” government spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis said on Tuesday as the mutual understanding found over the construction of a road between the buffer zone village of Pyla and Arsos in the north has won universal praise.

He said that securing the buffer zone was achieved and the violation of the status quo was prevented.

At the same time, Letymbiotis told CyBC radio, the presence of Turkish soldiers in the buffer zone was excluded.

Construction on the road is set to begin later this month after an understanding was found on Monday to solve the buffer zone dispute.

It is believed construction will begin on October 23, with the road set to connect Pyla directly with the north.

At the same time, the Greek Cypriot Pyla village council said it “salutes” the agreement and the developments, which, it says will be “to the benefit of local residents”.

It added that it is willing to “support any attempt which contributes to the development and prosperity of local residents and brings the two communities closer to one another.

“We hope this agreement will strengthen the attempts to restart discussions to solve the Cyprus problem,” it added.

The north’s ‘foreign ministry’ also welcomed the agreement, saying “a fair, realistic, and sustainable reconciliation on the island is possible through good neighbourly relations,” though added that those relations should be “based on cooperation between two independent states”.

It said it will “take the necessary measures to prevent the road from being used for irregular migration”.

This statement was backed up by the Turkish foreign ministry, which said it “welcomes” the agreement.

It added, “the agreement constitutes a new example of the constructive attitude which the TRNC side always demonstrates”.

Greek Cypriot political parties also welcomed the agreement.

“It is an agreement based on legality, which restores order to the states of the buffer zone and restores peace for the people of the region. At the same time, it prevents any further moves by Turkey to create new faits accomplis,” Disy said.

Diko said “this is a positive development which was achieved thanks to the correct and timely diplomatic actions taken by the Christodoulides government from the first moment”.

Akel were more cautious, saying the understanding “achieves its main objective”.

It said, however, “the question of course is what follows, that what was agreed be applied and respected in practice.

“The Pyla issue confirmed how fragile and how insecure the divided status quo is. Only a solution to the Cyprus problem, on the agreed basis and framework, can guarantee permanent peace and security for all of Cyprus and all Cypriots”.

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