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16 June, 2024
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UN peacekeepers adjust position amidst tensions in buffer zone

UNFICYP takes strategic steps as Turkish road construction raises alarms, G/C community leader conveys unease over growing discontent


In a recent update to the incident at the Pyla buffer zone, Simos Mitidis, the leader of the G/C community in Pyla, conveyed that the UNFICYP personnel have slightly repositioned themselves in response to the confrontation with Turkish forces within the buffer zone. Concrete barriers have been strategically placed to impede further advancement, Mitidis reported. He strongly criticized Turkish actions aiming to open a road connecting Arsus and Pyla, deeming them unacceptable.

Mitidis expressed concern about the impact of Turkish road construction on Pyla, a village susceptible to illicit activities such as smuggling and illegal immigration due to its proximity to occupied territories. He stressed the imperative of prevention, underlining the significance to Pyla's residents. He detailed how the Turkish army's road construction could facilitate unauthorized access to a Turkish outpost north of Pyla, bypassing existing checkpoints and controls, thereby exacerbating existing smuggling concerns.

While advocating for peaceful coexistence within the buffer zone, Mitidis expressed frustration with the Turkish army's actions, which he believes sow discord and insecurity among residents. He emphasized that such behavior contradicts ongoing efforts to establish harmony in the area.  He stated: "We are particularly saddened by the issue of the construction of this particular road, because where efforts are being made for the two communities to live together peacefully and harmoniously in a regime within the buffer zone, the Turkish army, through its actions, causes tension and discord among the residents and spreads insecurity and provocativeness. This is all unacceptable," he said.

Furthermore, Mitidis highlighted the considerable territorial impact of the Turkish action, referring to the occupation of a substantial region known as the 'Plati', covering a span of over 10 thousand donums. This, he asserted, constitutes a clear breach of the established status quo. Moreover, Mitidis criticized the Turkish outpost's presence, asserting that it contravenes UN resolutions and the UNFICYP's mandate in Pyla.

Mitidis confirmed ongoing communication between local authorities, including the government, Presidency, relevant ministries, and the municipality, to address this escalating situation. The UNFICYP's measured response in adjusting their position and implementing barriers aligns with their responsibilities in maintaining stability and security in the region.

Cyprus  |  buffer  |  zone  |  UN  |  Turkey

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