Lacroix to visit Cyprus on November 1-3

The UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, will pay Cyprus a visit on 1-3 November with the aim to review the peacekeeping force on the island (UNFICYP) operation, UNFICYP spokesperson Aleem Siddique has told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA).

Siddique noted that Lacroix will visit the buffer zone in Pyla and will meet with UN peacekeepers. Moreover, he noted that the UN official will have meetings with Cyprus President, Nikos Christodoulides, and Turkish Cypriot leader, Ersin Tatar, while he will also have contacts with civil society representative as women's and youth organizations.

The main focus of his visit is the UN peacekeeping force, Siddique said. 

In August 2023, the Turkish Cypriot side unilaterally announced its intention to build the road through the buffer zone between the villages of Pyla and occupied Arsos. Turkish Cypriots and settlers entered the buffer zone and attacked personnel and vehicles of UNFICYP. A peacekeeper was punched in the face.

The international community, including five permanent members of the UN Security Council, condemned the attack. Later on, discussions began aiming at resolving the issue.

According to an understanding that has been reached for Pyla, a single urban development area will be created, which will ensure the harmonious coexistence of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots in the area of Pyla and, will include, among other things, a large area of residential development, the paving of a road leading towards Troulloi village, the creation of photovoltaic parks and the expansion of the urban use area of the village.

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.  

(Source: CNA)

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