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Spokesman: Denktash proposal is threat to settle Varosha
2003-04-08 10:08:30

Nicosia, Apr 8 (CNA) -- Cyprus Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides described Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's proposal to open the closed town of Famagusta as an expression of a threat to settle the town, in violation of UN Security Council resolution 550.

He said the government will make all necessary representations, and quoted resolution 550 of 1984 that any attempt to ''settle any part of Varosha (Famagusta) by people other than its inhabitants is inadmissible", stressing this has remained "unchanged".|

Denktash on Monday said he would open up Varosha for development in order to "save" it. He also said that the hotels should be "leased" for 30 ? 40 years and if the owners of buildings are Greek Cypriots then the "rents can be kept somewhere for them".

"We all know that the closed town of Famagusta (Varosha) is under Turkish army, therefore it is UNFICYP's responsibility", said Spokesman Chrisostomides.

The Foreign Ministry, he added, is "examining Denktash's actions and will make the necessary representations to the UN and UNFICYP (United Nations Peace-Keeping Force in Cyprus)".

"Despite the fact that he (Denktash) has said the town will open up for companies to develop the hotels and the rents from hotels belonging to Greek Cypriots will be set aside, it doesn't change anything from the fact that it is a threat to use the fenced part of Famagusta, contrary to any previous Security Council decision", the Cypriot official added.

The UN said in resolution 550 of 1984 that it considers any attempt to ''settle any part of Varosha (Famagusta) by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible and calls for the transfer of this area to the administration of the UN.''

Famagusta, a thriving holiday resort before 1974, was the home of some 60,000 people. Over the years and the so far fruitless rounds of peace talks, under UN aegis, the town was often a pawn in the negotiating game.

The town fell to the advancing Turkish troops in mid-August 1974 when they moved towards the east and the west of the island from the positions they occupied north of Nicosia, in Kyrenia district. The second offensive resulted in the occupation of 37 per cent of the Republic's territory.

The UN considers Turkey responsible for maintaining the current status quo in the city of Varosha, now behind barbed wire and inaccessible to its legal Greek Cypriot inhabitants.


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