Government Spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis on Monday described the latest action of the Turkish occupying forces, regarding the installation of a rotating camera and an antenna on an uninhabited house in the buffer zone, in the area of Agios Dometios in Nicosia, as a “serious ongoing violation of the buffer zone”.
Asked by CNA as regards information about an incident in the buffer zone earlier in the day, Letymbiotis confirmed that, on Monday afternoon, a number of soldiers of the Turkish occupying forces entered the buffer zone in the area of Agios Dometios, while a small group of them installed on an uninhabited residence, known as “Maria's House”, a metal mast on which a rotating camera and antenna were mounted. He noted that in the previous days, the occupying forces had powered the house with electricity in support of the said installation. After the installation was completed, Turkish soldiers withdrew from the buffer zone, he said.
“The incident is being treated as a serious ongoing violation of the buffer zone”, Letymbiotis said, adding that the Government was in constant contact with the peacekeeping force for the restoration of the state of affairs to where it was before the aforementioned events.
UN Spokesperson, Aleem Siddique, told CNA that the situation was calm and UN peacekeepers were monitoring the situation following reports of security personnel near the buffer zone.
“We are engaging with the Turkish Cypriot side to prevent tensions and ensure the status quo is maintained”, he added.
This follows another incident last August, when 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 in the area of Pyla, in the Larnaca district.
The international community, including five permanent members of the UN Security Council, condemned the attack. Later on, an understanding was reached which provides that a single urban development area would be created, which would ensure the harmonious coexistence of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots in the area of Pyla. Works, that begun based on this understanding, were temporarily halted earlier this month to resolve complaints by some Turkish Cypriot land owners, who believe that their plots are affected.
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.