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Politics

Ignored, Pompeo Tells Turkey to Roll Back Varosha Beach Opening

Like Cyprus, Greece and the European Union, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's denunciation of Turkey opening a beach at the abandoned resort of Varosha on Cyprus was disregarded even as he urged the decision to be reversed.

The beach and town are on the northern third of the island occupied by Turkey since an unlawful 1974 invasion with the implicit support of the United States but Pompeo called the move an affront, said Reuters.

Pompeo made the comments in a call with Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides, the news agency said, with the State Department releasing a statement about the discussion.

"The Secretary expressed deep concern and noted such a move was provocative and inconsistent with UN Security Council Resolutions 550 and 789 and not conducive to a return to settlement talks," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

That was in reference to resolutions – which are not binding – that said only the original inhabitants of Varosha, most of them Greek-Cypriots, should be allowed to return if the village is ever opened as Turkey is expected to do.

Many if not most of those who lived in the now-rotting town where even basic infrastructure is almost beyond repair because it's decayed for 46 years are even alive but their families want the right of return.

"The Secretary urges a reversal of the re-opening," Ortagus added. "The United States continues to support a comprehensive settlement to reunify the island as a bizonal, bicommunal federation, which would benefit all Cypriots and the entire region."

A long line of diplomats, envoys, officials and politicians including UN leaders have failed for generations to get the two sides together with the last round of reunification talks collapsing in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana.

That was after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said they would never remove a 35,000-strong standing army on the occupied side and wanted the right of military intervention.

A wealthy area of luxury high-rise hotels, residences and shops, Varosha's 39,000 Greek-Cypriot residents fled in the second wave of a Turkish invasion and was sealed off, accessible to the Turkish military or officials.

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