UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix will hold in the coming weeks meetings in Cyprus to discuss about issue related to the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) and the developments as regards the buffer zone in Pyla area for which an understanding has been reached.

In statements to CNA, Deputy Government Spokesman, Giannis Antoniou, confirmed that Lacroix will be visiting the island next week, adding that the UN official will have contacts with both sides, in the framework of which he is expected to have meetings with Cyprus President, Nikos Christodoulides, and with Turkish Cypriot leader, Ersin Tatar.

Antoniou noted that on the agenda of Lacroix’s discussions will be the issue of Pyla, after the beginning of the works in the area in the framework of the understanding that has been achieved, and issues related to the UN peacekeeping force on the island.

In the framework of his visit, Lacroix may visit Pyla to witness the situation on the ground and watch the works that have been going on since Monday October 23.

Based on the understanding reached for Pyla, a single urban development area will be created, which will ensure the harmonious coexistence of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots in the area of Pyla and, will include, among other things, a large area of residential development, the paving of a road leading towards Troulloi village, the creation of photovoltaic parks and the expansion of the urban use area of the village.

In August 2023, the Turkish Cypriot side unilaterally announced its intention to build the road through the buffer zone between the villages of Pyla and occupied Arsos. Turkish Cypriots and settlers entered the buffer zone and attacked personnel and vehicles of UNFICYP. A peacekeeper was punched in the face.

The international community, including five permanent members of the UN Security Council, condemned the attack. Later on, discussions began aiming at resolving the issue.

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.

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