After more than two days and a third draft of conclusions, the United Nations Security Council in New York finally condemned statements by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish Cypriot leaders regarding plans to partially open Varosha, the southern part of Famagusta that has been fenced off and abandoned since Turkey invaded the north of Cyprus in 1974.
The protracted and intense diplomatic consultations stemmed from British objections to the wording of the statement, which blamed Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots. These objections were eventually overcome after significant pressure from all the other UNSC countries (US, Russia, China and France) as well India and Ireland.
The final statement confirms the previous statement by the UNSC regarding the negative developments in Varosha (October 9, 2020). References are also made to resolutions 550 and 789, reaffirming that any attempt to colonize any part of Varosha by anyone other than its inhabitants is unacceptable and that no actions should be taken that are not in agreement with relevant UNSC resolutions.
It is also stressed that the UNSC “condemns” the announcement by Turkish and Turkish Cypriot leaders on July 20 for the further opening of part of the enclosed area of Varosha.
The UNSC expressed its “deepest regret” at unilateral actions that ran counter to previous resolutions and statements, and called for an immediate reversal of this course of action and of all the steps taken in Varosha since October 2020.
What’s more, it called for the implementation of previous resolutions that provide for the transfer of Varosha under UN administration.
The statement concluded with the UN’s commitment to a lasting solution to the Cyprus problem on the basis of a “bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with political equality.” Flying in the face of relevant UNSC resolutions, Turkey is insisting on a two-state solution.
Diplomatic sources on Friday expressed Greece’s satisfaction with the final text, as, among other things, resolutions 550 and 789 on the status of Varosha are reaffirmed. They also underlined that for the first time an explicit reference is made to the Turkish leadership and the leadership of the Turkish Cypriots as last October’s statement only referred to an “announcement made in Ankara.”