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Politics

Cyprus Foreign Minister Meets UN Chief, Talks Turkish Provocations

February 25, 2020

NICOSIA – Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides said brought up Turkish energy drilling off the coast and Turkey’s plans to open the Varosha ghost town during a meeting in Geneva with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Christodoulides said that his talks with Guterres also touched on the deal Turkey signed with Libya dividing the seas between them, also claiming areas near Greek islands while now drilling for oil and gas in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ.)

Turkey, which has occupied the northern third of the island since an unlawful 1974 invasion, has ignored calls to stop from the legitimate government – a member of the European Union Turkey has been trying to join since 2005.

Similarly, United States support for Cyprus has been set aside while the EU has issued only soft sanctions, apparently emboldening Turkish President Recep Tayyiup Erdogan to proceed after he threatened to release millions more refugees and migrants on the bloc through Greek islands.

They had gone to Turkey fleeing war and strife, especially Afghanistan and Syria’s civil war, but also economic migrants from sub-Saharan Africa and other countries in hopes of finding work in the EU, which closed its borders to them.

Turkey and Turkish-Cypriot officials said they also plan to reopen Varosha in the occupied area, which is guarded by troops as part of a 35,000-strong army there, although a UN resolution said only the original residents could return, if still alive.

Reports emerged, said Kathimerini Cyprus, that Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades has requested UN help through a letter to Guterres to set up a bicommunal committee on Varosha, as part of a confidence-building measure (CBM).

According to UN Security Council resolution 550 (1984) any attempts to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants is inadmissible, which Turkey has so far ignored with the UN refusing to intervene over drilling off the island in areas Cyprus has licensed to foreign energy companies.

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