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24 May, 2024
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Government ups the ante on Spiftire impasse

Measures to be taken in case the UN fails to resolve the issue have already been decided on, the Government Spokesman said


The Republic of Cyprus has already decided on measures to be taken in the event that the UN fails to resolve the Spitfire Café impasse between the Nicosia Municipality and the Turkish military.

“Despite our repeated and highly intense protestations on many levels to the UN, and despite actions taken by the UN to resolve the matter, we have unfortunately not seen any positive developments yet,” Government Spokesman Kyriakos Kousios said.

He added that the Government’s position “is as intense as it can be and will not in any way accept new faits accomplis.”

The ruckus between the Nicosia Municipality and the Turkish military emerged last week, when the Municipality announced it had begun cleaning and structural support work on the iconic Spitfire Café which had shut it doors in 1974 after it found itself in the UN-controlled Buffer Zone separating the island’s two territories.

The municipality then issued a statement accusing Turkish soldiers of preventing Greek Cypriot workers from carrying out the task at hand in the heart of the divided capital.

But media in the north painted a different picture, with Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris citing reports accusing Greek Cypriot workers in the south of trespassing and getting inside Spitfire in the buffer zone.

Turkish Cypriot officials also went on to accuse the workers of knocking down a section of the building and also stealing items from inside, including a commercial sign.

According to Turkish Cypriot officials, municipal authorities in north Nicosia had been planning to carry out repairs on the derelict building and the United Nations had been informed about the pending activities.

UN peacekeepers were seen in the area but due to conflicting information reported in the media, it had not been established whether UNFICYP members were present from the beginning.

Last Friday, UNFICYP Spokesperson Aleem Siddique issued a statement saying they were engaging with both sides to arrive at a “peaceful resolution and prevent tensions.” 

“UNFICYP continues to actively patrol the sensitive area around Spitfire café and is closely monitoring developments on the ground,” Siddique said.

Kousios said on Tuesday the Government will await any results that may come about, but if interventions by the UN fail to yield any positive outcomes “the Government is prepared to take certain measures,” which he said have already been decided on.

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