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Tension at UN buffer zone in Cyprus after ‘serious violation’

Tensions in Cyprus have heighted after Turkish troops entered the buffer zone – an off-limits areas diving the island – and installed a camera and radio antenna.

In response, President Nikos Christodoulides, leader of the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, said there would be a response from his administration. ‘I said that the decisions will not be made public; some of them will be visible, others will not,’ he told reporters.

‘This is a serious violation. The National Guard, the Republic of Cyprus, we have decided on the method of response. As of tomorrow morning, this method will be put into effect, unless there are – and I hope there will be – developments in the UN efforts.’

The latest incident follows an episode in August when Turkish troops attacked members of the U.N. peacekeeping force inside the U.N. buffer zone at the Pyla, near the east coast. The clashes started over unauthorised construction work in an area under U.N. control.

Turkish bulldozers removed U.N. trucks, cement bollards and barbed wire from the zone.

Asked if these events create further obstacles to the UN Secretary-General’s effort to appoint a special envoy for the Cyprus problem, Christodoulides said: ‘All these developments prove that there is even more need for the appointment of an envoy; and one of the reasons, among many, why this tension is being attempted to be generated, is to prevent any effort to resume negotiations. The stance of the Turkish side is well-known; they are afraid to come to the negotiating table with such inadmissible positions that are not acceptable by anyone, but this is, also, one of the goals they are trying to serve.’

Famagusta Gazette