Pyla deal first step to resuming talks

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Head of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus, Colin Stewart, told the Security Council that the understanding reached on Pyla was a first step to resuming stalled talks, according to diplomatic sources.

Stewart briefed during a 40-minute closed meeting the members of the Security Council on the Pyla consensus, which was announced on October 9.

The agreement came after Turkish Cypriot personnel attacked UN peacekeepers in the buffer zone at Pyla when they blocked the unauthorised road construction.

Diplomatic sources told CNA that Stewart described the “positive and constructive attitude of both parties (Cyprus and Turkey) and that this understanding is a first step to help the resumption of the peace process”.

During the briefing, the UN official emphasised that some details are still pending regarding the roadblock that must be built inside the buffer zone because, as the consensus reached, it provides for roads connecting the Turkish-occupied areas with the Republic of Cyprus.

This transportation needs to be monitored according to the European Union’s Green Line regulation, and the details on the roadblock to be constructed within the buffer zone are still pending.

Stewart also argued the agreement would create an area for urban use, which is favourable for all those who own property there.

He said that the first construction works are expected to start next week.

Several member states congratulated Colin Stewart on the achievement, welcomed the consensus, and asked the Security Council to issue a press statement.

According to sources, France and the US called for the appointment of an envoy to look into prospects for the resumption of negotiations between the two sides.

The US praised the political will and the compromise reached by the two sides for this understanding.

At the same time, the Secretariat of the United Nations said press reports on the appointment of an envoy from Norway “were unfortunate inaccuracies.”

The last round of UN-backed negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana, ended inconclusively.