The US, UK and France condemned assaults against United Nation peacekeepers and damage to UN vehicles by Turkish Cypriots within the buffer zone that divides the two sides of Cyprus.
(Bloomberg) — The US, UK and France condemned assaults against United Nation peacekeepers and damage to UN vehicles by Turkish Cypriots within the buffer zone that divides the two sides of Cyprus.
“Threats to the safety of UN peacekeepers and damage to UN property constitute a serious crime under international law,” the three countries said in a joint statement via their embassies in Nicosia.
The three permanent members of the UN Security Council expressed “serious concern” at the launch of “unauthorized construction of a road leading from the north into the UN-delineated buffer zone to the bi-communal village of Pyla/Pile”. The assaults took place despite the UN having presented a proposal addressing Turkish Cypriot concerns in the area, the three countries said.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey occupied the northern third of the island following a coup by supporters of the country’s union with Greece. The 180-kilometer (112 miles) buffer zone divides the two sides.
The UN should not try to prevent the construction of the road and there is determination to go ahead with its construction as it will facilitate the lives of Turkish Cypriots, Turkish state-run Anadolou Agency cited the Turkish-Cypriot administration’s foreign minister Tahsin Ertugruloglu as saying in a statement.
“The European Union condemns the assault on members of the UN’s peacekeeping force in Cyprus, or UNFICYP, by personnel from the Turkish Cypriot side” and calls on Turkish Cypriots “to respect the mission’s mandated authority in the UN buffer zone,” the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Threats to the safety of UN peacekeepers and damage to UN property are unacceptable and will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, UNFICYP said in a statement.
The assaults were made against British and Slovak members of the UN pecekeeping force, according to Cyprus Government Spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis. Cyprus and Greece also condemned the assaults.
The self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is recognized only by Turkey. Numerous UN-led efforts to reunify the island have failed, most recently in 2021.
–With assistance from Beril Akman.
(Updates with Turkish Cypriot comment in fifth paragraph.)
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