President of the House of Representatives, Annita Demetriou informed the Marshal of the Sejm (Lower House of Parliament) of the Republic of Poland Elżbieta Witek, who is paying Cyprus a three-day official visit at her invitation, about the current developments concerning the Cyprus problem and in particular about what is happening in the fenced – off part of Turkish occupied city of Famagusta, known as Varosha.

After the meeting, the two Presidents made statements to the press. Witek then signed the visitors’ book of the House of Representatives. According to the House of Representatives, Witek will address the House tomorrow, Thursday at 16:00.

In her statements, Demetriou said that she informed her counterpart about current alarming developments regarding the Cyprus problem and in particular what is happening in the Turkish occupied city of Famagusta and reaffirmed to her the Greek Cypriot side’s commitment to resume negotiations within the agreed framework, which is a bizonal, bicommunal federation, in accordance with the agreed UN framework, international law and UN resolutions.

Demetriou pointed out to Witek the striking similarities between the Russian invasion of Ukraine and Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus and the need for the international community to avoid double standards policies.

At the same time, Demetriou thanked her counterpart and her country for supporting Cyprus and the international legal order, not only on the Cyprus problem, “but also on all the other challenges we face.”

In addition, Demetriou said, there was an exchange of views on multiple challenges such as the migration crisis and it was agreed to take joint initiatives and actions to “effectively address our common challenges as EU member states.”

The President of the House of Representatives said that they “both agreed that there is much scope for further strengthening our collaboration, both at the bilateral and European levels, especially in the context of the Poland-Denmark-Cyprus Trio of the Presidency of the Council of the EU, in 2025-2026”.

Speaking through an interpreter, Witek thanked the Republic of Cyprus for the humanitarian aid it provides to Ukrainian refugees and said that her schedule includes a meeting with refugees from Ukraine, who are mainly women and children.

Witek said that Poland is a frontline country. “We are a direct neighbour of Ukraine and we know very well what Russia and the Russians are capable of and we know why Ukraine is fighting for. We spoke about this. Russia intends to rebuild its empire. She wants to become a superpower and is not going to stop in Ukraine if it is not defeated. This is why we need political, military and humanitarian support for Ukraine”.

Witek said that while the war is still going on, women and children are being killed. “Women are being raped, sometimes raped in front of their children. Ukrainian women have to give birth on birth cement floors. Russia is shelling hospitals. Children and babies are being killed,” she said, noting that these events bring to mind the Second World War.

Witek announced that in June she will organise another meeting of the women Presidents of the European Union Parliaments, and during this meeting the issue of human trafficking and child trafficking will be raised. She also said that the issue of the difficulties faced by women in Afghanistan would be discussed at the meeting.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.

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.

The Turkish Cypriot leadership announced in July 2021 a partial lifting of the military status in Varosha. A few months earlier, on October 8, 2020, the Turkish side opened part of the fenced area of Varosha, following an announcement made in Ankara on October 6. The UN Security Council called for the reversal of this course of action, while the UN Secretary General, in his latest report on his mission of good offices in Cyprus, reiterated his concern over developments in the fenced-off area, noting that the position of the UN on Varosha remains unchanged. The EU also expressed grave concern.

Leave a Reply