By Tom Cleaver and Iole Damaskinos

The future of the planned road between Pyla and Arsos depends entirely on the United Nations, the north’s ‘foreign minister’ Tahsin Ertugruloglu said on Wednesday.

Speaking to Kibris, Ertugruloglu blamed the UN’s peacekeeping force (Unficyp) “mismanagement of the process” for the breakdown in construction in the area despite earlier disputes from the summer having seemingly been resolved with a mutual understanding between the UN and the island’s two sides.

Whether the halting of construction on the road will be temporary or permanent depends entirely on the attitude of the UN,” he said.

With this in mind, he accused the UN of having created a “misleading perception” by agreeing two separate and different mutual understandings between the island’s two sides.

He pointed out that there was “no agreement reached” directly and noted his surprise that Greek Cypriot construction workers had begun demarcating plots of land in the area in the autumn.

“This incident showed that the UN reached a separate agreement with the Greek Cypriot side, independent of the agreement it reached with our country,” he said.

In November, the UN had confirmed to the Cyprus Mail that the Greek Cypriot construction workers’ actions in the buffer zone were authorised and did fall in line with the mutual understanding.

However, the Turkish Cypriot side remained insistent that they had not consented to the Greek Cypriot work in the buffer zone.

The UN then called for a “short pause” in construction work, with Unficyp spokesman Aleem Siddique saying Unficyp had “taken note of the Turkish Cypriot side’s concerns and remain committed to solving multiple issues with the Turkish Cypriots to find a mutually acceptable solution”.

President Nikos Christodoulides then said the Turkish Cypriot side had effectively “backed away” from the mutual understanding.

Since then, three months have passed with no construction in the area having taken place.