We have asked the President of the Republic to raise the issue of Famagusta to the President of France and the Chancellor of Germany, said Mayor of the Turkish occupied city, Simos Ioannou, on Monday, after having been received by President Nikos Christodoulides, at the Presidential Palace.
In his statements, the Mayor of Famagusta said that he and the delegation of the Famagusta Municipal Council were informed about the contacts of President Christodoulides in Brussels. For its part, the local authority delegation informed the President about its contacts in Brussels with European Parliament President, Roberta Metsola, with Ambassadors to Cyprus and its upcoming visit to Piraeus on April 3 for the exhibition of paintings that have come from Turkish occupied Famagusta.
“We have exchanged views and will be in continuous contact for anything related to Famagusta,” he added.
Furthermore, Ioannou stated that he informed the President of the Republic about the upcoming visit of Dolors Montserrat, President of the European Parliament’s Committee on Petitions, to Cyprus at the end of June, as well as of Nacho Sánchez Amor, rapporteur for Turkey’s accession to the EU. He also noted that he will request a meeting with the new US Ambassador to Cyprus, adding that he has asked the President to raise the issue of Famagusta in the meetings he will have with the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, and the Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz.
“If the fenced area of Famagusta, which is covered by the two resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, is lost, then not only will the rest of the city of Famagusta be lost, but also other cities,” he stressed, rejecting public statements about the prioritisation of Famagusta at the expense of other aspects of the Cyprus problem. “We have never asked to give back the fenced area of Famagusta under the auspices of the United Nations in order to close the Cyprus issue,” the Mayor of Famagusta pointed out.
“However, at this moment, with the change of the status quo in the fenced area of Famagusta, this means that we will no longer have an issue to discuss as concerns territory and the Cyprus issue,” underlined Ioannou, stressing that everyone must support this effort ”so that the actions of Turkey and its puppet regime stop soon.”
The Mayor of Famagusta indicated that “the only solution is for the talks to begin.” He further added that he was informed by President Christodoulides about the efforts that have been made to get the EU more involved in this effort without downgrading the role of the United Nations. He also expressed the hope that there will be positive results.
In addition, Ioannou expressed his willingness to be in contact with the so called “mayor” of the Turkish Cypriot quarter of Famagusta to discuss some issues. “Any meeting that takes place will be positive for us,” he concluded.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Varosha, the fenced off section of the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta, is often described as a ‘ghost town’.
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 in July 2021 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. In his latest report to the Security Council, UN Secretary-General Guterres underlines the importance of adhering fully to UN resolutions, underscoring that the position of the United Nations on this matter “remains unchanged.”
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.