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21 July, 2024
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Pyla buffer zone free of military presence

Pyla's bold step towards peace

Newsroom / CNA

An agreement reached on Monday morning in relation to the issue of the buffer zone in the area of Pyla would ensure the status of the buffer zone and the non-presence of military and “police” forces of the occupying authorities, diplomatic sources told CNA, describing the development as “a very big” confidence building measure (CBM).

Based on the agreement, according to information CNA obtained, a single urban development area will be created, which will ensure the harmonious coexistence of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots in the area of Pyla and, will include, among other things, a large area of residential development, the paving of a road leading towards Troulloi village, the creation of photovoltaic parks and expansion of the urban use area of the village.

Diplomatic sources said that with the consensus reached, the ceasefire line has been clearly delineated and the United Nations peacekeeping force (UNFICYP) will continue its presence and control throughout the buffer zone, thus preventing the violation of the status quo. The agreement also rules out a military or “police” presence of the occupying authorities within the buffer zone.

Furthermore, uncontrolled access to the Pyla area is prevented, with the creation of a crossing point and the full implementation of the Green Line Regulation. It was ensured that the road will not be exploited for the settlement of Pyla, including the area of Plati or for the access by criminals and irregular immigrants to the free areas as was the case until recently.

It also prevents Turkish forces from gaining a military advantage, by creating an urban and residential development zone in the area of Plati, and ensuring the use of the road exclusively for civilian purposes.

The diplomatic sources underlined that the interests of the local society were secured, the international factor was positively activated, while Nicosia succeeded in turning the crisis into an opportunity.

The same sources said they were cautiously optimistic that the agreement, signed on Monday morning by the UN and both sides, would be implemented by the other side.

They also said that as part of its implementation, the Greek Cypriot side would start work in the area on October 23 and that in this context, around 400 plots would be created.

The same sources said that the EU will be involved in the whole project with funding, while they noted that the Pyla Community Council was aware of the agreement and has approved it.

In relation to the background of the case, they pointed out that while at the beginning the international community was convinced by the Turkish side that the road would be built for humanitarian reasons, Nicosia managed to reverse this impression with the evidence it provided and make it clear that the Turkish plans also concerned military reasons. Therefore, UNFICYP had no other choice on August 18 than to intervene to prevent the implementation of the Turkish plans because, otherwise, any possibility for future talks on the Cyprus issue would be ruined.

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.

On August 18, 2023 Turkish Cypriots punched and kicked a group of international peacekeepers who obstructed crews illegally working on a road that would encroach on a U.N. controlled buffer zone.

The attack occurred as peacekeepers stood in the way of crews constructing a road to connect the Turkish occupied village of Arsos with the mixed Greek Cypriot-Turkish Cypriot village of Pyla, inside the buffer zone.

Members of the Security Council condemned on August 22, 2023, the incidents in the buffer zone in Pyla, and the attacks on UN peacekeepers and the damage to UN vehicles by Turkish Cypriot personnel. They emphasised that “attacks against peacekeepers may constitute crimes under international law and reaffirmed their full commitment to the safety of all UN personnel”.

Cyprus  |  peace  |  Pyla  |  Turkish  |  bufferzone  |  military  |  forces

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