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President visits Ayios Dhometios to check on buffer zone measures (update, pics)

ΠτΔ – Άγιος Δομέτιος // por – agios dometio
A view of 'Maria's House' in the UN buffer zone at Ayios Dhometios

President Nikos Christodoulides on Sunday paid an impromptu visit to Ayios Dhometios, and specifically to the area of Maria’s House in the buffer zone inspect measures taken, following a Turkish incursion last week.

Government spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) that the visit was not planned, and that the president had gone to see if the measures announced earlier this week were being implemented.

He added that Christodoulides also spoke with residents in the area.

ΠτΔ – Άγιος Δομέτιος // por – agios dometio
President Nikos Christodoulides visited with residents in Ayios Dhmoetios near the UN buffer zone

Speaking during his visit, Christodoulides said: “I came to see for myself what has happened, the violation that has been done by the occupying army, but more to talk to the people, to the residents of the area.
It is very important for me to hear from them. And I have to say that from everything they conveyed to me, they feel safe. I discussed with them whether there are other measures that the Republic of Cyprus can take. We had some discussions and what they mentioned will of course be taken into account.”

Asked about the steps the Republic of Cyprus intends to take in relation to the Turkish violation of the buffer zone, the president said:  “The violation is here, a very negative development. We are not satisfied with a mere record in the reports from time to time in relation to the activities of the peacekeeping force in Cyprus. We will continue our efforts to remove what has been done and it is not something we downplay under any circumstances.”

Earlier, asked about the arrival of a UN envoy for the Cyprus problem, Letymbiotis added that there was nothing new, but that the announcement of the individuals is expected soon, as per a discussion Christodoulides had with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the COP28 summit on climate change earlier this week in Dubai.

On Friday, Christodoulides had met Guterres and the two discussed the issues in Ayios Dhometios, and the president also informed him that it was necessary to have the UN envoy appointed as soon as possible.

A day before meeting Guterres, government spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis confirmed the activation of diplomatic and military measures along the UN buffer zone on Thursday.

The news came a day after Christodoulides said that both “visible and invisible” actions would be taken by the state in response to two violations of the buffer zone near Ayios Dhometios, Nicosia.

Christodoulides, who on Thursday morning met the personnel of the 6th American fleet at the Presidential Palace, also called the breach of the buffer zone “very serious”.

“The activation of measures has commenced, there’s a plan that started this morning but we cannot divulge more,” Letymbiotis said.

He also added that, while some measures are visible, others will remain undisclosed.

“Our aim is to ensure the status quo of the buffer zone, and we are in continuous communication with the UN peacekeeping force (Unficyp),” Letymbiotis said.

Asked whether Unficyp was consulted or merely informed about the measures, Letymbiotis mentioned that the peacekeeping force was informed of them beforehand.

“If the status quo of the buffer zone is not restored within a specific timeframe, other measures will be activated,” he said, adding that the information received from the peacekeeping force indicate that the situation in the area remains unchanged.

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