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24 May, 2024
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Ursula von der Leyen to address Cyprus problem

European Commission's Cyprus commitment shakes the table

Newsroom / CNA

The European Commission has reaffirmed its position on the Cyprus issue in a letter penned on behalf of its President Ursula von der Leyen and addressed to the Famagusta Association of Great Britain President Dr Vassilis Mavrou.

It states that the EU remains fully committed to a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem within the UN framework, on the basis of a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality, in accordance with all relevant UN Security Council resolutions and in line with the principles on which the EU is founded and the acquis.

The letter has come as response to previous communication by Dr Mavrou, who has sent hundreds of letters to UK and European politicians and officials with regard to Cyprus and Turkey’s hindrances in reaching a settlement of the long-standing issue.

It also notes that Turkey is expected to act responsibly, so that an environment conducive to negotiations can be created.

There is also reference to the condemnation by the EU of the opening of the fenced-off town of Varosha in October 2020, as well as the support of all relevant UN Security Council resolutions, which consider attempts to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible, and which call for the transfer of that area to the administration of the United Nations.

The letter on behalf of Mrs von der Leyen then condemns the recent episodes in Pyla, underlining the EU call on the Turkish Cypriot side to respect the UN’s mission mandate and refrain from actions that escalate tensions.

With regard to European Commission efforts to reunify Cyprus, Dr Mavrou is reminded of the aid programme for the Turkish Cypriot community, for which the EU has so far allocated €688 million.

The programme covers, inter alia, the bi-communal Committee on Cultural Heritage. On that, the letter notes that as a matter of principle the Commission deplores any damage to, or disrespect for, cultural heritage sites, an issue raised in Dr Mavrou’s original communication.

Moreover, the aid supports the work of the Committee on Missing Persons and many other confidence-building measures, the response letter explains.

In conclusion, the European Commission and its President state that they remain convinced that the best way forward to resolve the Cyprus problem is through a resumption of formal UN-facilitated negotiations and that they will continue to support the process and the UN Secretary-General’s efforts to seek common ground between the parties, in any way they can.

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.

Cyprus  |  Turkey  |  EU  |  commision  |  Famagusta

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