Nicosia gets UN assurance over Turkish Cypriot ban

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Nicosia has received reassurances from the United Nations that any action taken in response to Turkish Cypriot efforts to squeeze its peacekeeping force (UNFICYP) into recognising the north will not violate UN Resolutions, said government spokesperson Marios Pelekanos.

Talking to state radio on Monday, Pelekanos argued that the UN only signs agreements with recognised countries and that the buffer zone can only be used in agreement with the Republic.

Pelekanos said that the breakaway regime continues making “unacceptable claims” to “present itself as a sovereign entity.”

He added that UNFICYP’s mandate is clarified in UN Security Council resolutions on Cyprus.

Last week, Turkish Cypriot officials demanded that UNFICYP signs a military agreement, allowing them to maintain their camps in the north, with the Republic trying to block the move.

The head of the Turkish Cypriot foreign office, Tahsin Ertugruloglu, said that authorities in the Turkish-occupied north had given UNFICYP a month’s notice.

“You either recognise the TRNC, or you will withdraw from the TRNC,” said Ertugruloglu.

Ertugruloglu said Turkish Cypriot authorities have demanded that UNFICYP signs a military agreement with them, which will allow the UN to retain its presence in the north.

He said UN peacekeepers have two camps and one convergence point in the north.

One camp, called General Stefanik, is in UNFICYP’s Sector 4, under the responsibility of the Slovak contingent headquartered in the Famagusta area.

The contingent is also responsible for monitoring the fenced-off town of Varosha, part of which Turkish Cypriot authorities have reopened.

Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar informed the UN last month that a separate agreement must be signed.

UN Secretary-General Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric confirmed the Turkish Cypriot request for a policy change.