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28 May, 2024
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UN seek clarification on humanitarian aid 'tax'

The Turkish Cypriots have suggested the taxes will be lifted

Newsroom / CNA

The UN in Cyprus is in contact with the breakaway Turkish Cypriot regime for clarifications regarding its intention to lift "taxes" on humanitarian aid delivered by the peacekeeping force (UNFICYP) to the enclaved from the government-controlled areas.

Turkish Cypriot 'foreign minister' Kudret Ozersay has suggested the "taxes" will be lifted. UN spokesperson Aleem Siddique told CNA that "we welcome the indications that the Turkish Cypriot authorities have made and we are following this up with them, at the moment, for further details."

Siddique said "we are in the process of clarifying details...we are certainly in touch with Turkish Cypriot authorities on this issue."

The decision to impose "taxes" was taken by the authorities last October, and condemned by the Cypriot government, which said that it would not pay any "taxes".

"we are in the process of clarifying details...we are certainly in touch with Turkish Cypriot authorities"

At the end of the second phase of the Turkish invasion in August 1974, about 20,000 Greek and Maronite Cypriots living primarily in the Karpas Peninsula of northeast Cyprus and west of Kyrenia remained behind the ceasefire line. Today, only around 437 'enclaved' remain of whom 328 are Greek Cypriots and 109 Maronite Cypriots.

Despite the Third Vienna Agreement, Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot authorities have violated all its terms. Since 1974, the enclaved have endured conditions of hardship and oppression because of their ethnicity, language and religion.

Last year the Turkish Cypriot administration blocked regular UN aid delivery for the few hundred Greek Cypriots who still live in the north for the first time in decades.

The move further soured relations between the Turkish Cypriots and the island's internationally recognized Greek Cypriot government, already at a low ebb since the collapse of UN-backed reunification talks last July.

The Turkish Cypriots started imposing customs duty on the goods carried by the UN convoys, saying they were no longer needed.

Nicosia protested the move, saying it undermined efforts to restore confidence between the two communities.

UNFICYP's role of delivering humanitarian assistance to Greek Cypriot and Maronite communities in the north of the island is based on a longstanding agreement between the two sides, and provides hundreds of elderly and other vulnerable people with basic supplies on a weekly basis.

The enclaved are those people who refused to leave their homes under an agreement to transfer populations trapped behind the frontline following the Turkish invasion of 1974.

UN  |  Cyprus  |  Turkey  |  Turkish Cy[priots  |  Greek Cypriots  |  enclaved

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