Nicosia slams UNFICYP for failing mandate

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Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides has strongly protested to the head of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), Colin Stewart, for what Nicosia perceives as mission derailment.

In a Friday statement, the Foreign Ministry said that representations were made by telephone since Stewart couldn’t attend a meeting.

Kasoulides expressed the Greek Cypriot side’s “strong discomfort with the way Stewart and UNFICYP are exercising their mandate in Cyprus, in a way that creates complications and problems, mainly at the expense of our side”.

It said the Minister gave specific examples of things taking place along the ceasefire line, in the area of Pyla, and within the fenced-off area of Varosha.

Regarding the issue concerning the works at the Çetinkaya stadium, the Minister asked for their immediate suspension, so there could be a consultation with the Republic and to explain the rationale that led UNFICYP to grant a work permit without the consent of the government.

Stewart stated that all UNFICYP actions were and are being carried out with full respect to the status of the buffer zone, and all measures were taken and are being taken to meet the concerns of the Republic of Cyprus.

Kasoulides “clarified to Mr Stewart that the Republic of Cyprus would not tolerate anyone misunderstanding and perceiving the constructive disposition of our side as weakness, which made sincere efforts to build a climate of trust between the two communities.

“Therefore, actions that the Turkish Cypriots could exploit to upgrade the separatist entity should be avoided.”

Nicosia didn’t elaborate on what the UN had failed to do in its mission in a very public and rare show of annoyance with the peacekeeping force.

Turkish Cypriots have also decided to focus their ire on UNFICYP as the island’s division deepens in the absence of a peace process.

UNFICYP has been feeling the heat from both sides for the first time since its inception in 1964.