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Decisions on buffer zone incidents expected Thursday (Updated)

unficyp
File photo

The government’s decisions regarding this week’s Turkish violations of the buffer zone will be implemented from Thursday morning, President Nikos Christodoulides said on Wednesday following another incident.

He was speaking at an event hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce of Cyprus.

Earlier, in the afternoon, the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (Unficyp) was deployed after Turkish soldiers entered the buffer zone in the Ayios Dometios area on a military vehicle.

A source told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) that after noticing the vehicle entering the buffer zone, Unficyp staff asked them to leave and they did so.

Unficyp spokesperson Aleem Siddique said late in the afternoon that “there are no vehicles or personnel from the Turkish forces inside the UN buffer zone.

“UN peacekeepers remain present in the area and are continuing to engage with both sides to prevent violations and restore the status quo,” he added.

This was the second incident this week, the first occurring on Monday afternoon, when a rotating camera and antenna were installed in an empty building in the area.

“The information we have from the United Nations is that they are continuing the efforts,” Christodoulides said, adding that the decisions made by the government, which he had mentioned earlier in the week, will be implemented on Thursday.

“I said that the decisions will not be made public,” he reminded, saying that “some of them will be visible, and some will not.

He added that “this is a serious violation. The National Guard, the Republic of Cyprus, we have decided on the method of response. As of tomorrow morning, this method will be put into effect, unless there are – and I hope there will be – developments in the UN efforts.”

Asked if the international community has been informed about the events, he said that the Permanent Members of the Security Council have been informed, along with EU officials.

Asked to comment on statements made by the Turkish side that the buffer zone is related to the territorial issue and will be subject to negotiations, he said that “it is a well-known approach that is always put on the negotiating table by the Turkish side, a stance devoid of any seriousness; it is a statement not worth commenting on”.

Asked if these events create further obstacles to the UN Secretary-General’s effort to appoint a special envoy for the Cyprus problem, Christodoulides said that “all these developments prove that there is even more need for the appointment of an envoy; and one of the reasons, among many, why this tension is being attempted to be generated, is to prevent any effort to resume negotiations.

“The stance of the Turkish side is well-known,” he finally said. “They are afraid to come to the negotiating table with such inadmissible positions that are not acceptable by anyone, but this is, also, one of the goals they are trying to serve.”

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