he Cyprus Government expects the Government of Turkey and its illegal subordinate administration in the occupied part of Cyprus to comply with the clear calls of the Security Council to respect the status of Varosha, noting that any actions that might adversely affect the right of return and the property rights of the city’s lawful inhabitants must be avoided.
In a letter dated October 11 to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, which circulated as an official document of the General Assembly on Tuesday, Mavroyiannis says the “Government has brought to the attention of the United Nations several times in recent months a matter of grave concern for us, namely the threats by Turkey to open the occupied city of Varosha, in violation of Security Council resolutions on Cyprus.”
He notes that, “alarmed by the prospect of the occupying power creating additional faits accomplis on the ground and anxious to secure compliance with the said resolutions, the Cyprus Government decided to resort to the Council under article 35.1 of the Charter of the United Nations.”
“Following my Government’s request to the Security Council to be seized of the matter, the latter issued press statement SC/13980 on 9 October 2019, in which it stated that the members of the Council ‘recalled the importance of the status of Varosha as set out in previous Security Council resolutions, including resolution 550 (1984) and resolution 789 (1992), and reiterated that no actions should be carried out in relation to Varosha that are not in accordance with those resolutions’,” Mavroyiannis says.
He notes that “the special status of Varosha has been defined through a number of stipulations adopted either directly by the Security Council or endorsed by it.”
Mavroyiannis points out that “the status of Varosha, as an area under the direct control of the Turkish army and an area for which Turkey has control and responsibility, is explicitly stated in reports of the Secretary-General, which affirm that ‘the United Nations continues to hold the Government of Turkey responsible for the status quo in Varosha’”.
He adds that “it is recalled that Varosha was occupied and its inhabitants violently expelled during the second phase of the Turkish military invasion of 1974, looted, and fenced by the Turkish army, which, to this day, has exclusive access to the city.”
“The Cyprus Government expects the Government of Turkey and its illegal subordinate administration in the occupied part of Cyprus to comply with the clear calls of the Security Council to respect the status of Varosha. Any actions that might adversely affect the right of return and the property rights of the city’s lawful inhabitants must be avoided. We also expect Turkey to put an end to declarations by high officials of its Government threatening to open Varosha, and to cease violations of relevant Security Council resolutions on the ground by undertaking ‘inventory studies’ in Varosha,” he says.
Mavroyiannis notes that the Government “will continue to exert every effort for the return of Varosha to its rightful and lawful owners and inhabitants under the auspices of the United Nations, as a matter of priority and in line with relevant Security Council resolutions and the 1979 High-level Agreement, pursuant to which we have repeatedly made specific proposals to realize the return of Varosha, not only as an obligation but also as a means to create a win-win situation.”
“We remain convinced that such a venture would serve as a tangible confidence-building measure and could prove to be a game-changer, contributing greatly to the efforts for creating a climate conducive to the resumption of the peace process and eventually leading to a fair and durable comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem,” he concludes.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.