New York.- By Apostolos Zoupaniotis/CNA
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo assured Cyprus’ Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides that the United States share his concerns that any unilateral actions to reopen Varosha or to settle the city with people other than its original inhabitants would not be conducive to the resumption of settlement talks and would run contrary to United Nations Security Council Resolutions 550 and 789.
A well-informed source in Washington said that Pompeo was responding to a letter sent by Christodoulides on September 13.
“The United States looks to all parties to respect these resolutions and will deliver this same message clearly to Turkey” Pompeo says in his letter, according to the same source.
The top US diplomat also refers to settlement negotiations regarding the Cyprus issue, underlining that the United States believes that a bizonal, bicommunal federation offers the best chance for the people of Cyprus to have a more peaceful and prosperous future.
Pompeo notes finally that Washington continues to encourage all stakeholders to refrain from actions or rhetoric that increase tensions in the region and calls on both sides to take significant steps to improve bicommunal relations.
Christodoulides will attend later today a transatlantic dinner hosted by Pompeo for his EU counterparts. The Foreign Minister of Cyprus will also meet later bilaterally with Philip Reeker, the Assistant Secretary of European and Eurasian Affairs.
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 the summer of 2017, at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.
Varosha is the fenced off section of the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta, often described as ‘ghost town’. UN Security Council resolution 550 (1984) considers any attempts to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible and calls for the transfer of this area to the administration of the UN.
Efforts over the years for the legitimate citizens of Famagusta to return to the city have met with the refusal of the Turkish side, despite numerous decisions and resolutions by the UN, EU and other international institutions.