UN holds contacts on Pyla dispute

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UN head of Mission Colin Stewart continues discussions with both sides in Cyprus to find a mutually acceptable way forward in the Pyla buffer zone row.

Well-informed sources told the Cyprus News Agency that diplomatic consultations on this matter are ongoing.

Meanwhile, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Europe, Central Asia and the Americas, Miroslav Jenča, arrives on Sunday for separate meetings with President Nikos Christodoulides and Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar.

The aim is for the UN official to see if there is scope for a joint meeting, during the second half of September, of the two leaders with the UNSG in New York, from which something positive might come out.

Jenča on Monday meets Christodoulides, while later in the day, he will visit Tatar, who has rejected a proposal by Christodoulides for a joint meeting with the UN official.

His trip was planned before the August 18 violence in the buffer zone where Turkish Cypriot forces injured four UN peacekeepers.

A source said the situation on the ground is calm and that peacekeepers who maintain a presence in the area will monitor the situation.

On Tuesday, Jenča will fly in a helicopter from Nicosia to the buffer zone in the Famagusta area, accompanied by Slovak peacekeepers; in the evening, he will leave the island.

Members of the UN Security Council condemned on Tuesday the incidents in Pyla.

They condemned the attacks on UN peacekeepers and the damage to UN vehicles by Turkish Cypriot personnel.

They emphasized that “attacks against peacekeepers may constitute crimes under international law and reaffirmed their full commitment to the safety of all UN personnel.”

On August 18, Turkish Cypriots punched and kicked a group of international peacekeepers who obstructed crews illegally working on a road that would encroach the UN-controlled buffer zone.

The attack happened as peacekeepers stood in the way of work crews building a road to connect the Turkish-occupied village of Arsos with the mixed Greek Cypriot-Turkish Cypriot village of Pyla.