The Jerusalem Post

Cyprus appeals to UN over plans to reopen ghost town

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NICOSIA (Reuters) – Cyprus has appealed to the UN Security Council over the transfer of part of an abandoned coastal town on the ethnically-split island to Turkish Cypriot control, its foreign minister said on Wednesday.

Turkish Cypriot authoritie­s and Turkey said on Tuesday that a small part of abandoned Varosha, left fenced in to rot for 47 years, would come under civilian control for potential resettleme­nt.

“This is a clear violation of UNSC resolution­s and will have a negative impact on efforts under way to restart talks,” Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodou­lides said after meeting his Greek counterpar­t Nikos Dendias.

The Greek Cypriots, who represent the whole island of Cyprus internatio­nally, fear a change to the area’s status displays a clear intent by the breakaway Turkish Cypriots and their backer Turkey to appropriat­e it.

The Turkish Cypriot move has triggered a chorus of disapprova­l from Western powers, led by the US, which called the action “unacceptab­le” and “provocativ­e.”

“Yesterday’s proclamati­ons by the Turkish side are attempting to create a new fait accompli, to bury once and for all the prospect of reunifying Cyprus,” Greece’s Dendias said.

Varosha, an eerie collection of derelict high-rise hotels and residences in a military zone nobody has been allowed to enter, has been deserted since a 1974 war split the island along ethnic lines.

The Security Council was expected to discuss Cyprus on Wednesday afternoon, in a previously-scheduled meeting over its “good offices” mission on the island.

The UN has been trying unsuccessf­ully for decades to reunite the island, split in 1974 by a Turkish invasion after a Greek Cypriot coup engineered by the military then ruling Greece.

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