Cyprus warns UN over dangers of Turkey reopening Varosha

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President Nicos Anastasiades has told the UN chief that Turkish threats to reopen the fenced-off town of Varosha would be dangerous with a negative impact on the resumption of moribund Cyprus talks.

Anastasiades fired the warning during a telephone conversation on Tuesday with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

“President Anastasiades underlined the very serious dangers of such a move, which is in stark contrast to the relevant UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and it will have a very negative impact on efforts to restart the talks,” government spokesman Kyriacos Koushos said in a statement.

According to Koushos, the President said Turkey’s intentions in relation to Varosha, as well as its general provocative behaviour within the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone, “clearly fall within the plan put forward by Ankara to abandon the agreed base of the solution”.

“The President called on the UN Secretary-General to intervene and reiterated his proposal to set up a bi-communal committee to prepare a study for the reconstruction of the town and to resettle its legal residents.”

“It could be a substantial confidence-building measure that would strengthen the effort to resume negotiations and resolve the Cyprus issue.”

Koushos said that the President reiterated his readiness to resume substantive negotiations from the point where they were interrupted at Crans Montana in 2017.

“The UN Secretary-General listened carefully to the President and assured him that he would take appropriate action within the provisions of the UN Security Council resolutions.”

The latest round of UN negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended in failure.

Turkish Cypriots have said they will soon reopen the derelict district of Varosha, a once-popular tourist resort that has remained a ghost town since the 1974 Turkish invasion.

Entry to the area, which once attracted guests from around the world, has remained forbidden to the public.

Varosha was once the island’s premier tourist resort boasting more than 12,000 hotel rooms and home to 25,000 Greek Cypriot residents.