Government is closely monitoring developments in Pyla, Spokesman says

The Government is closely monitoring developments following the Pyla incident, holds constantly diplomatic contacts and will not accept anything that calls into question the status of the Buffer Zone, Government Spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis said on Thursday.

In statements on the sidelines of the World Conference of Cyprus Diaspora, taking place this week in Nicosia, Letymbiotis initially said that this year’s Conference is the largest ever held to date.

“Our goal as a government is to make the most of these people, who are on the side of Cyprus regardless of how many years and how far they live from their homeland”, he said. Letymbiotis noted that his own presentation and discussion today was about the way expatriates can be used to raise public awareness in their countries of residence, and how to forge closer relations with the media in their countries, with the primary objective to highlight the Cyprus problem and the President’s positions, which are being promoted with great diplomatic effort.

The Spokesman was asked about the incident in Pyla and if there are any other diplomatic efforts at the moment. He said that especially after the unanimous UN Security Council statement, the status of the Buffer Zone and the unacceptable plans of the Turkish side have become clear again.

“We are closely following developments. The President of the Republic, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Government hold constantly diplomatic contacts and we closely follow developments. Anything that calls into question the status of the Buffer Zone will not be accepted,” he said.

Asked about the upcoming visit to Cyprus of UN Assistant Secretary-General Miroslav Jenca, Letymbiotis said that the main reason for this visit is the preparation ahead of the upcoming UN General Assembly.

“It is a visit which has been planned after the telephone communication of the President of the Republic with Mr. Guterres and also after the visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the personal meeting with the UN Secretary General,” he said.

He noted that the government will repeat to Jenca its readiness for the immediate resumption of negotiations on the agreed basis, the sincere will for a constructive dialogue so that negotiations can resume, but also the position, also shared by the Security Council, that the appointment of an envoy by the SG will bring high added value especially at this moment.

Members of the Security Council condemned on Tuesday, August 22, 2023, the incidents in the buffer zone, in the village of Pyla, in Larnaca district, with assaults against UN peacekeepers, reiterating their full support for UNFICYP

They also condemned the attacks on UN peacekeepers and the damage to UN vehicles by Turkish Cypriot personnel and wished a speedy and full recovery to the peacekeepers who were injured. They emphasized that “attacks against peacekeepers may constitute crimes under international law and reaffirmed their full commitment to the safety of all UN personnel.”

On Friday August 18, 2023 Turkish Cypriots punched and kicked a group of international peacekeepers who obstructed crews illegally working on a road that would encroach on a UN controlled buffer zone.

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 July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.