EU leaders voice concerns over Varosha

EU leaders voice concerns over Varosha

The EU’s High Representative for Foreign Policy Josep Borrell expressed concern on Monday over developments regarding the fenced-off town of Varosha in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus, amid Ankara’s plans to change its status in violation of relevant United Nations resolutions.

At a press conference following the conclusion of the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels on Monday, Borell said that both the president of the European Commission and the president of the European Council had reaffirmed the importance of avoiding unilateral action to change Varosha’s status set by UN Security Council resolutions.

The high representative also stressed that priority should be given to the resumption of talks on the Cyprus issue, noting that there is absolute unity among the EU’s 27 member-states against a two-state solution in Cyprus which Turkey is pursuing, in defiance of the UN-sanctioned decades-long agreed premise for a settlement.

For his part, Cyprus Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides briefed his counterparts about Turkey’s moves ahead of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Varosha on July 20.

Christodoulides also had a meeting on the issue with the Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and Borell on the sidelines of Monday’s council meeting.

Earlier, European foreign ministers had a working breakfast with their Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry.

According to diplomatic sources, the meeting, which lasted more than an hour, discussed issues in the wider region, including the Eastern Mediterranean, Syria, Libya and the crisis in Ethiopia, which directly affects Cairo.

According to the same sources, Dendias is expected to go to Cyprus and Israel next week, most likely on July 21, the day after Erdogan’s visit to northern Cyprus.

EU foreign ministers also had a working lunch with Israel’s Foreign Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid.

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