Greek, Cypriot leaders discuss Turkish resettlement plans for Varosha

The leaders of Greece and Cyprus discussed stepping up their coordinated diplomatic activity in the wake of Turkey’s announcements regarding Famagusta in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus, government sources in Athens said.

In a phone call on Tuesday, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and President of the Cyprus Republic Nicos Anastasiades discussed the announcement by Turkish Cypriot officials, during a visit by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, for the potential resettlement of a small part of the now-abandoned Greek Cypriot suburb of Varosha on the island’s east coast, in clear violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions and European Council conclusions.

Earlier, the Foreign Ministry in Athens condemned the announcement regarding Varosha, a suburb of Famagusta.

The ministry said the decision changes the status of the closed-off uninhabited area, in violation of related U.N. Security Council resolutions.

“Greece condemns in the strongest way possible today’s announcement of the Turkish president to reopen part of the enclosed city of Varosha,” it said, naming specifically the U.N. Security Council resolutions 550 (1984), 789 (1992), and 1251 (1999) and conclusions of the European Council “that call on Turkey to avoid unilateral and provocative actions that destabilize the region”.

Further, the Foreign Ministry said that “Greece, in full coordination with the Republic of Cyprus, remains committed to the resolution of the Cyprus issue on the basis of a bizonal, bicommunal federation, as relevant resolutions of the U.N. Security Council define and in agreement with the principles of the European Union – authorities that we call on Turkey, a candidate for EU accession, to respect.”

Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias also expressed Greece’s solidarity with the people and government of Cyprus in a phone call to his Cyprus counterpart, Nikos Christodoulides.

Dendias said he also briefed U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland on Turkey’s illegal actions in Varosha.

(This article was originally published in the Kathimerini newspaper and is reproduced by permission.)