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16 June, 2024
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Assessing the President's letter on Turkish offenses

Unpacking the President's appeal to UN

Pavlos Xanthoulis

Pavlos Xanthoulis

President Christodoulides urgently appealed to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, seeking intervention to curb Turkish violations in the buffer zone, expressing concern about the potential for a serious crisis.

The president, in his letter to Phileleftheros, highlighted Turkish forces' violations across locations such as Pyla, Agios Dometios, Wayne's Keep cemetery, Strovilia, Avlona, and the Cetinkaya Stadium.

However, a notable omission from the president's letter was the fact that the Turkish forces didn't independently capture the Cetinkaya Stadium in the buffer zone; rather, it was "donated" by the United Nations.

The president failed to mention that Colin Stewart, the UN's special representative, unlawfully transferred the stadium beyond his authority to the occupying authorities.

This information, despite previous representations from both the past and present governments, was neglected. It raises questions about the president's failure to remind Mr. Guterres that the continued occupation of buffer zone parts by the occupying forces occurred, in some cases, not merely with tolerance but in cooperation with UNFICYP.

Furthermore, the president overlooked UNFICYP's responsibility in Pyla, where the Turkish side acts freely, breaching agreements related to the opening of a road.

The consequences of the omissions are evident in Colin Stewart's statement from New York, briefing the Security Council on the Cyprus problem. Stewart acknowledged breaches on both sides, emphasizing the escalating tensions described in the UN report. This public revelation aligns with what President Christodoulides wrote to Guterres but failed to disclose.

Stewart's claim of Cyprus violating its own buffer zone, as seen in the "use of the school field" of Pallouriotissa, echoes the president's silence on such matters. The buffer zone, initially ceded by the Republic of Cyprus to UNFICYP, poses a challenge when the United Nations itself cedes the Cetinkaya Stadium to the occupation forces, extending the occupation line within the buffer zone, a move beyond their authority.

These critical points were absent from President Christodoulides' letter to Guterres, allowing Colin Stewart to articulate his perspective not just in his personal style but also on behalf of the Cypriot state's vital interests.

Note: Foreign diplomats often consider sending a letter as a last resort for a politician struggling to effectively manage an issue.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

Cyprus  |  UN  |  Turkish  |  bufferzone  |  government  |  president

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