The UK is deeply concerned about the announcement made during the visit of Turkish President Erdogan to Cyprus regarding the reopening and resettlement of an area constituting 3.4% of the fenced-off area of Varosha, a Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesperson said on Tuesday evening, adding that the UK will be discussing this issue as a matter of urgency with other Security Council members.

The spokesperson noted that the announcement “runs contrary to UN Security Council resolutions and to the Security Council Presidential Statement of 8 October 2020 which called for Turkey to halt and reverse its actions in Varosha.”

Moreover he reiterated that “the UK strongly supports the relevant Security Council Resolutions covering the issue of Varosha and calls for all parties to comply with them.”

“The UK will be discussing this issue as a matter of urgency with other Security Council members. The UK calls on all parties not to take any actions which undermine the Cyprus Settlement process or increase tensions on the island,” the spokesperson added.

UK Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, reiterated his “deep concern” and reflected the rest of his department’s statement with a post on Twitter.

Varosha, the fenced off section of the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta, is often described as a ‘ghost town’.

Turkey invaded Cyprus on July 20, 1974. Numerous UN backed talks to reunite the island have failed to yield results.

UN Security Council resolution 550 (1984) considers any attempts to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible and calls for the transfer of this area to the administration of the UN. UN Security Council resolution 789 (1992) also urges that with a view to the implementation of resolution 550 (1984), the area at present under the control of the United Nations Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus be extended to include Varosha.

Turkish Cypriot leader, Ersin Tatar, announced on Tuesday a partial lifting of the military status in Varosha.

On October 8, 2020, the Turkish side opened part of the fenced area of Varosha, following an announcement made in Ankara on October 6. Both the UN Secretary-General and the EU expressed concern, while the UN Security Council called for the reversal of this course of action.

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