France calls Turkish-Cypriot ghost town initiative a “provocation”

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian speaks during a press conference with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the French Foreign Ministry in Paris, France, June 25, 2021. Andrew Harnik / Pool via REUTERS

PARIS, July 21 (Reuters) – France on Wednesday criticized the decision of the Turkish Cypriot authorities to partially reopen an abandoned city in Cyprus for possible resettlement, calling it a “provocation”.

Turkish Cypriots said on Tuesday that part of Varosha would come under civilian control and people would be able to reclaim property – angering Greek Cypriots who accused their Turkish rivals of orchestrating a land grab. lands by evasion. Read more

Varosha, a bizarre collection of abandoned high-rise hotels and residences in a military zone no one has been allowed to enter, has been deserted since a 1974 war divided the island.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian discussed the issue with his Cypriot counterpart on Tuesday and will address the subject at the United Nations, a ministry spokesperson Le Drian said.

Cyprus is represented in the EU by an internationally recognized Greek Cypriot government. France is chairing the UN Security Council this month.

“France deeply regrets this unilateral approach, on which there had been no consultations, which constitutes a provocation and undermines the restoration of the confidence necessary to resume urgent talks to reach a just and lasting solution to the Cyprus question. “, he added. Drian’s spokesperson said.

Peace efforts have repeatedly failed on the ethnically divided island. A new Turkish Cypriot leadership, backed by Turkey, says a peace deal between two sovereign states is the only viable option.

The Greek Cypriots reject a two-state deal for the island that would grant sovereign status to the separatist Turkish Cypriot state that only Ankara recognizes.

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Andrew Heavens

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