The Turkish side has retreated from the Pyla understanding with the UN, President Nikos Christodoulides said on Saturday and announced that he will have a telephone conversation with UNSG Antonio Guterres on Monday to discuss Pyla, the appointment of an envoy for the Cyprus issue and Nicosia’s proposal for a humanitarian corridor for Gaza.

Speaking to the press at an event in Nicosia to commemorate the victims of the two World Wars, the President said that his telephone conversation with Guterres will take place while in Berlin for a Summit on the future of the EU.

Replying to a question, he said that there have been assurances from the UN to our side that they need time to implement the consensus on Pyla adding that he will talk to UNSG on the phone Monday about the matter.

In another question that the Greek Cypriot side is being criticized for the understanding on Pyla, the President said that he cannot understand the criticism, pointing out that the Republic of Cyprus” worked so that there will be no violation of the status of the buffer zone (with the understanding) and no military advantage for the Turkish occupying forces.” He pointed out that if anyone disagrees with these two issues, he/she can publicly say so.

President Christodoulides noted that was is of utter significance is to implement the consensus reached adding that the residents of the area have welcomed this effort. He also said that the UN are responsible for the implementation of the understanding. Replying to another question by the press he said as things currently stand in Pyla, “the Turkish side has backed down.”

He went on to underline that the break in works is an outcome of the actions of the Turkish occupation forces, adding once again that the UN asked for a pause so that they can safeguard the implementation of what was agreed upon.

In another question about the appointment of an UN envoy on Cyprus, the President referred to excuses by Turkey which rejects the person proposed by Antonio Guterres and added that the UN continue their efforts on the matter. He also said that he cannot understand why there is no “reasonable reaction” for a person from Commonwealth countries, adding that there have been similar appointments in the past.

President Christodoulides said that there is no new name on the table, adding that “efforts continue.”  He went on to say that one can find many excuses when not wanting to pursue the dialogue on the negotiating table.

He also said that we need “to give time to the UNSG hoping that something will come out of it” and recalled that appointing an envoy is of decisive importance, in light of the discussion for EU-Turkey relations in EUCO in December.

The President referred to statements made yesterday by Premier Mitsotakis on the matter, following the first Intergovernmental Summit between Greece and Cyprus in Athens.

On Nicosia’s proposal for Gaza he said that he will inform the UN Secretary General about this initiative, adding that he spoke to UN Assistant Secretary General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix on the issue, during his recent visit on the island.

He noted that the United Nations have a role to play on receiving humanitarian aid, adding that our side has prepared a document of 25 pages with all the details of the proposal and steps for the implementation.

As he further said, consultations will continue at technocratic level with Israel and other countries on details. He added that there are ongoing talks on the matter and added that Cyprus’ proposal consists of action in three stages.

Works were being carried out until noon last Monday on the basis of an understanding reached for Pyla, but were temporarily halted in order to resolve complaints by some Turkish Cypriot land owners, who believe that their plots are affected.

In August 2023, the Turkish Cypriot side unilaterally announced its intention to build a 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, an understanding was reached which provides that 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.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

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