CNA News

We must make Varosha a living city again, PACE Rapporteur says

Varosha should no longer be a ghost town, said Italian MP, Piero Fassino, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe’s (PACE) Rapporteur for Famagusta who visited on Wednesday the fenced off part of the occupied town, noting that it was “sad” that Varosha, was in such a state. “We must make efforts to make Varosha a living city again”, he said.

Fassino said that the walled-off area of Famagusta could once again become a “living city” with the implementation of the United Nations proposals. “Of course, this is something that can happen with the agreement of the parties concerned”, he noted. He also expressed the belief that, after 50 years, there should be a solution to the Cyprus problem, “with the help of the United Nations, of course”.

Asked about the report he was preparing on Famagusta’s return to its lawful inhabitants, Fassino said that, after concluding his contacts with both sides, he would study their positions and prepare a report. He said that his report would also include recommendations.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Varosha, the fenced off section of the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta, is often described as a ‘ghost town’.

UN Security Council resolution 550 (1984) considers any attempts to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible and calls for the transfer of this area to the administration of the UN. UN Security Council resolution 789 (1992) also urges that with a view to the implementation of resolution 550 (1984), the area at present under the control of the United Nations Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus be extended to include Varosha.   

On October 8, 2020, the Turkish side opened part of the fenced area of Varosha, following an announcement made in Ankara on October 6. Then, in July 2021, Turkish Cypriot leader, Ersin Tatar, announced a partial lifting of the military status in Varosha. 

In his latest UNFICYP report, UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, reiterates his concern over any new developments in the fenced-off area of Varosha and the lack of response to the Security Council’s call for a reversal of the actions taken since the announcement of the partial reopening in October 2020. The EU has also expressed concern.