Cyprus welcomes UNFICYP renewal

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Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides is satisfied with the UN Security Council resolution approving the six-month renewal of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) mandate but said the barbed wire remains.

He said Friday his ministry would continue to support UNFICYP but at the same time insist on its position of setting up barbed wire in the buffer zone to curb illegal migrants from the Turkish-occupied north crossing into the Republic.

On the UN resolution, Kasoulides said: “We are satisfied because a lot has been said about the UN Secretary General’s reports about no references to the basis for a solution to the Cyprus problem, that of a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality.”

He said around 20 previous reports on Cyprus contained no reference.

“We are satisfied because the resolution refers to the basis for a solution, a bizonal, bicommunal federation.

“It also refers to the UN resolutions concerning Famagusta and the references on the town by the President of the Security Council calling for a reversal of the actions taken against the lawful residents with the opening of the fenced-off area of Varosha”.

He said the Greek Cypriot side shares the SC’s regret that currently, negotiations are not underway.

“You understand that we cannot go to the negotiating table alone; we need to talk to the other side, which is putting up conditions that are contrary to the newly adopted resolution”.

For all these reasons,v“we are satisfied”.

Regarding criticism of erecting a barbed-wire fence along the Green Line to stop the flow of illegal migrants and asylum seekers, Kasoulides said the resolution contains a reference that the status of the buffer zone is being violated.

“Our view has existed since 1974 and does not agree with UNFICYP’s version of where the buffer zone boundaries are located.”

He underlined that the government would not change its position on the issue.

“We have done everything possible to allow free movement of UNFICYP, negotiations were held before the Ministry of Interior put up the barbed wire, which is not a permanent structure, and there are many entrances at various points which UNFICYP can use for its patrols.”

“We will protect UNFICYP; we will support it…we insist on our position as defined in the negotiations”.