Rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on the issue of Famagusta, Italian MP, Piero Fassino, said on Tuesday, after a meeting with Cyprus President, Nikos Christodoulides, in Nicosia, that he was working towards a solution based on dialogue and mutual trust.

The President of the Republic has conveyed to Fassino that this report should also clearly state the support of the Council of Europe (CoE) in the effort for the restart of the negotiations within the agreed framework, Government Spokesperson, Konstantinos Letymbiotis, said in his own statements.

Fassino, who is paying his second working visit to Cyprus, had a meeting with President Christodoulides at the Presidential Palace in the morning.

In his statements after the meeting, through an interpreter, he said that he discussed with the President of the Republic about the Cyprus issue and the situation regarding the fenced area of Varosha, as a rapporteur on behalf of the Council of Europe, for a report on Varosha.

He will present his report to the PACE in June, he said, noting that this is his second visit to Cyprus, and that he had previously visited Ankara and Athens.

“I am working for a solution which is compatible with the UN resolutions, and clearly, with a perspective of reuniting the island within the framework of the bizonal, bicommunal federation, as is the proposed solution”, he said.

“My commitment is to work to support political efforts to achieve this solution”, he added.

Asked by a journalist how his report could be used, Fassino said that the report will be a tool to foster dialogue between the two communities, “to reach a solution that will be compatible with the UN resolutions.”

He also said that on Wednesday he will visit the Turkish Cypriot community and discuss with its representatives, noting that he was working for a solution based on dialogue and mutual trust.

In his own statements, the Government Spokesperson noted that President Christodoulides briefed Fassino about the contacts of the personal envoy of the UN Secretary-General on her last visit to Cyprus, “but also about the commitment of our side for the restart of the negotiations and for adhering to the resolutions of the Council Security”. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres appointed María Ángela Holguín Cuéllar of Colombia as his personal envoy for Cyprus, to assume a Good Offices role on his behalf and search for common ground on the way forward in the Cyprus issue.

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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