House President Annita Demetriou expressed hope that the final report by the Rapporteur of PACE Political Affairs and Democracy Committee, Italian MP Piero Fassino, as well as the relevant resolution will contribute to the efforts to resume talks and end the Turkish provocations in the fenced off city of Famagusta, which are in violation of the relevant Resolutions of the UN Security Council and conclusions of the European Council on the issue.

Demetriou met today with the Fassino, who is on a second working visit to Cyprus, in order to complete his report on the “Appeal for the return of Famagusta to the its legal residents”, which will be submitted for approval to PACE Plenary at the upcoming Session, in June.

According to a House press release, Annita Demetriou told the Italian MP that the goal is to end the current deadlock and to immediately resume the talks on the basis of the agreed solution framework of a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality, as provided by the relevant UN resolutions. Unfortunately, she added, Turkey’s continuous violations within the buffer zone as well as opening part of the fenced off area of Famagusta, but also its insistence on a “two-state” solution in Cyprus and its continued refusal to engage in dialogue, make this perspective difficult.

Responding to a related question from Piero Fassino, House President Demetriou expressed her support for the initiatives to strengthen the climate of trust with the Turkish Cypriot community, including confidence building measures. Annita Demetriou added that the international community must demonstrate the same determination against any violation of international law, human rights and the international rule of law.

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.

On October 8, 2020, the Turkish side opened part of the fenced area of Varosha, following an announcement made in Ankara on October 6. Then, in July 2021, Turkish Cypriot leader, Ersin Tatar, announced a partial lifting of the military status in Varosha.

In his latest UNFICYP report, UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, reiterates his concern over any new developments in the fenced-off area of Varosha and the lack of response to the Security Council’s call for a reversal of the actions taken since the announcement of the partial reopening in October 2020. The has EU also expressed concern.

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