UN official to visit Pyla buffer zone

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UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, will visit the buffer zone in Pyla on Thursday to see the situation on the ground after the attacks against peacekeepers in August.

Lacroix is visiting Cyprus from November 1-3 and arrives on the island Wednesday for a high-profile visit.

He will hold separate meetings on the same day with President Nikos Christodoulides at the Presidential Palace at 1530 and Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar in the Turkish-occupied north at 1700.

Lacroix will also have meetings at the Ledra Palace with representatives of civil society, especially women and youth organisations.

But his main focus will be the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP)  and discussing with officers its operation and activities.

In August, the Turkish Cypriot side unilaterally announced its intention to build the road through the buffer zone between the villages of Pyla and occupied Arsos.

Turkish Cypriots and settlers entered the buffer zone and attacked UN personnel and vehicles of UNFICYP.

The international community, including five permanent members of the UN Security Council, condemned the attack, and discussions followed to resolve the issue.

According to an understanding reached, a single urban development area will be created to ensure the harmonious coexistence of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots in Pyla.

It will include a large residential development area, the paving of a road leading towards Troulli village, the creation of photovoltaic parks and the expansion of the urban use area.