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National Council calls on Turkish side to return Famagusta
2003-04-30 16:06:49

Nicosia, Apr 30 (CNA) -- The National Council calls on the Turkish side to return the area of Famagusta to its legitimate citizens, and commit itself to the final withdrawal of occupation troops and demilitarise the island.

The decision, taken during last night’s meeting and announced here Wednesday, also calls on Turkey to implement the Third Vienna Agreement on the enclaved Greek Cypriots and to effectively cooperate to ascertain the fate of the missing persons.

It says that it is expecting the Turkish side’s response.

In addition, the National Council stresses the readiness of the Greek Cypriot side to enter direct and substantial negotiations based on the Annan plan in finding a solution to the Cyprus problem, based on the relevant UN decisions.

On the situation that has emerged from the Turkish occupation regime’s decision to ease the restrictions on the free movement of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, the National Council said it believes the impulsive and friendly attitude of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots during their recent meetings has shown their sincere desire to live together and cooperate as two communities in a united country.

It also believes that showing passports and issuing “visas” by the occupation regime does not imply recognition, even indirect, of the illegal regime, and neither does it undermine the legitimate and internationally recognised state of Cyprus.|

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of the island’s territory.

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. It now lies uninhabited, except some of its suburbs, and there is very little, if anything, to recall its former glory. 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 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 inhabitants.


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