Cyprus: Guterres letter says Varosha should open under UN control

Guterres also expresses the UN’s readiness to assist with the reunification process should the two sides request so

A letter sent to President Nicos Anastasiades by UN chief Antonio Guterres confirms the international organization’s position that the Turkish-held fenced-off town of Varosha should open under UN-control.

And not under Turkish administration as it was widely speculated after the collapse of the UN-brokered Cyprus peace talks in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, in July.

This is what government spokesman Nikos Christodoulides said on Monday, adding that Guterres also expresses the UN’s readiness to assist with the reunification process should the two sides in divided Cyprus request so.

“The Secretary General’s letter has three important points: Firstly, it confirms the UN position about the fenced off area of Varosha as it is recorded in the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and the Secretary General’s reports to the Security Council,” he said.

“Secondly, the UN support Confidence Building Measures that both sides in Cyprus accept or agree on. And thirdly, the letter refers to the UN readiness to assist with the peace process, should the two sides in Cyprus request so,” he added.

Guterres’ letter is in response to one sent to him by the President on August 4 focusing on statements by the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot side about plan B or C in Cyprus, as well as on information about the possible opening of the ‘ghost town’ under Turkish Cypriot administration and in full violation of UN resolutions.

Asked if Anastasiades will respond to the UN chief’s letter, Christodoulides said that he would not comment until the President takes his final decision.

“The President will be in New York during the week that begins on September 17, (and) among other things he will address the General Assembly and hold important contacts including a meeting with the Secretary General” he said.

“Obviously, the Cyprus problem will be the main topic on the agenda. Therefore, we should expect to see how President Anastasiades will contact Mr Guterres.”

The Spokesman also said that the Turkish Cypriot leader will be in New York in the week after the General Assembly and that he will not take part in its works.

He added that no joint meeting of the leaders of the two sides in Cyprus has been arranged with the Secretary General.

Christodoulides also reminded that the Turkish side’s positions during the latest UN-brokered negotiations in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, were not in line with Guterres’ framework. And that this was the reason the peace process ended without results.

Asked whether the Greek Cypriot side is concerned about the report which is being prepared by up until a month ago UN Cyprus envoy Espen Barth Eide on Cyprus, Christodoulides said there is no reason for the Government to be concerned.

“Everyone knows what happened, the positions were submitted at the negotiating table. The Special Adviser (Eide) has the obligation to submit his report to the Secretary General and from then on the Secretary General will decide when he will brief the Security Council on the report”.