Famagusta can act as a bridge for the overall solution of the Cyprus problem, the Turkish occupied city’s Mayor Simos Ioannou has said.
Ioannou was speaking at a meeting of the Famagusta Municipal Council with representatives of European Union member states’ diplomatic missions in Cyprus, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, during which he outlined the situation as it stands and referred to recent “actions taken by Turkey and the illegal regime in the occupied areas for the colonization of our enclosed city or its opening under an occupational regime.”
This is a plan, he noted, “that literally is a stab in the very heart of the thousands of citizens of Famagusta who are living today as refugees in every corner of free Cyprus.”
However, he explained, “this isn’t an emotional issue.”
This action, Ioannou said, “undermines the very prospect of an overall solution to the Cyprus problem, which – as it is now evident judging from the dramatic developments – has an important role for peace and stability throughout the region.”
It is for this reason, he continued saying, “that all citizens of Famagusta – regardless of generation, political opinions and views on the Cyprus problem – are all fully determined that that we must act at every level to prevent fait accompli from being imposed.”
He informed foreign diplomats that we have already started “an all-out general mobilization both inside and outside Cyprus and we shall address every decision-making centre with the goal of preventing the new fait accompli.”
Ioannou noted that in all reports submitted by the UN Secretary-General, it is “explicitly stated that the occupying power, namely Turkey itself, has the responsibility for the closed city of Varosha.”
“Turkey`s attempts to pass on to the so-called Turkish Cypriot authorities the responsibility for the status quo within the enclosed Varosha city were rejected by the United Nations,” he added.
Turkey, he said, “is responsible for the desolation of the city and the rejection of the efforts made by Cypriot governments over the years to raise the issue of the enclosed city of Famagusta.”
Famagusta’s mayor continued noting that the return of the city of Famagusta to its inhabitants as a priority that is not interconnected with the overall solution of the Cyprus problem is explicitly provided for in the High-Level Agreement of 1979 which “specifically provides that priority should be given to the agreement for resettlement in Varosha under the auspices of the United Nations and that this agreement would be implemented without waiting for the result of the talks on other aspects of the Cyprus problem.”
He further referred to UN Security Council resolutions on Famagusta, “namely Resolution 550 in 1984 and 789 in 1992. Resolution 550 in 1984, he said, condemns as unacceptable the attempts to colonize any part of Varosha by individuals other than its lawful inhabitants and calls for the transfer of the enclosed area to the United Nations administration. Resolution 789 of 1992 also proposes, as a confidence-building measure, that Varosha be brought under the control of the UN Peacekeeping Force with the goal of implementing Resolution 550 of 1984, he added.
The European Parliament, he said, has also expressed its strong interest on Famagusta and has on numerous occasions stressed the need for Turkey to comply with the resolutions of the Security Council.
If things are allowed to proceed in this direction, he said referring to Turkey’s plans for Famagusta, “any prospect of a solution to the Cyprus problem will be destroyed, with all that this would mean for the prospect of peace on the island and throughout the whole of our region.”
That is precisely the reason why, as the Municipality of Famagusta, he said, “we are working determinedly, both on an international and European level, to raise the issue of our city and to seek practical support for the implementation of the UN Resolutions.”
This, he noted, “is also the appeal we address to all of you, namely, to convey to all the governments of the EU the message of the sense of urgency and the pressing need as to the case of Famagusta.”
At the same time, he added, “we welcome with emotion and optimism the fact that a large section of Turkish Cypriots is not in agreement with Turkey’s machinations.”
“Famagusta can be a bridge for the overall solution, for the liberation and reunification of the whole of Cyprus,” he said.
Varosha, the fenced – off part of the once thriving holiday resort of Famagusta, on the eastern coast of Cyprus, has been sealed since the 1974 Turkish invasion and according to the UN, the Turkish military is responsible for it. Repeated attempts to hand the area to UN administration and its Greek Cypriot legal inhabitants have so far failed due to the stance of the Turkish army.