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25 June, 2024
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Cyprus working on comprehensive refugee policy

President Christodoulides emphasizes need for specific refugee policy amid Turkish moves in Famagusta

Source: CNA

The government is working on a comprehensive refugee policy, President of the Republic Nikos Christodoulides said on Monday.

Asked about the Turkish moves in the fenced-off area of Famagusta, the President said that all competent services of the state and the Law Office are investigating the issue, adding that earlier in the day a meeting took place at the Presidential Palace, in the presence of the Attorney General, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of the Interior and he stressed the need to "finally, after so many years, develop a specific refugee policy."

The President, who was speaking on the sidelines of his visit to the Cyprus Red Cross, referred journalists to his election program, saying that there are specific issues related to the refugee policy and noted that together with the Minister of the Interior they are working on specific developments on the matter.

According to a press release by the Presidency, replying to another question he said that the effort as regards the Cyprus issue is to create conditions for the resumption of talks from the point they were interrupted in Crans Montana in 2017.

He referred to his recent visit to Paris and his meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, saying that he discussed this issue with his French counterpart and this will be the purpose of his upcoming visit to Berlin "precisely to see - immediately after the Turkish elections - how the conditions are created that will lead us to the resumption of talks."

Asked if the government is considering compensation in relation to the fenced-off area of Famagusta, the President said that they are considering something "more general in relation to the refugee policy", adding that "we must admit that since 1974 there has not been a comprehensive refugee policy".

Replying to a question as to whether the government has received any information regarding the issue of sanctions, he said: "no, they have not been sent, but soon you can expect to hear some specific decisions from the government's side, possibly at the next Council of Ministers, in relation to the specific issue."

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.

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.

The Turkish Cypriot leadership announced in July 2021 a partial lifting of the military status in Varosha. A few months earlier, on October 8, 2020, the Turkish side opened part of the fenced area of Varosha, following an announcement made in Ankara on October 6. The UN Security Council called for the reversal of this course of action, while the UN Secretary-General, in his latest report on his mission of good offices in Cyprus, reiterated his concern over developments in the fenced-off area, noting that the position of the UN on Varosha remains unchanged. The EU also expressed grave concern.

Cyprus  |  Turkey

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