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Unficyp monitoring Turkish Cypriot works in buffer zone

The reported works are near the Ayios Dhometios crossing point

Members of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (Unficyp) have been placed on alert after reports appeared late on Monday of a contingent of Turkish Cypriot soldiers who gathered in the buffer zone near the Ayios Dometios checkpoint in Nicosia, purportedly for construction work.

The area falls into the jurisdiction of the United Nations, so construction works cannot be carried out.

According to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), Turkish Cypriot soldiers installed a rotating camera and an antenna on top of an empty building in the Ayios Dometios buffer zone at around 4pm on Monday.

Speaking to the CNA, government spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis called the incident “a serious violation” of the buffer zone rules.

He also added that in recent days, Turkish Cypriot forces had electrified the empty building to support the installation of the camera.

The Unficyp is monitoring the situation, which spokesperson Aleem Siddique has deemed “calm and under control”.

“We are collaborating with the Turkish Cypriot side to prevent tensions and ensure the maintenance of the status quo,” Siddique added.

The ‘public works ministry’ in the north also told the Cyprus Mail that it is “unaware of any works in the buffer zone”.

On top of that, the undersecretary of the north’s ‘foreign ministry’ Mustafa Lakadamyali also downplayed the situation.

“Nothing has started yet. We have a project ready to increase capacity at the Ayios Dometios crossing point, so people can cross quicker,” he told the Cyprus Mail.

“The issue is being discussed at the bicommunal technical committee for crossing points, and no work has started yet.”

 

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