The Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (“APPG”) for Cyprus, Sir Roger Gale MP (Conservative), has written to Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab MP, urging the UK Government to consider all actions and measures to ensure that Varosha is not re-opened in a way that contravenes UN resolutions following representations from the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK, which is the Secretariat for the APPG. The letter was co-signed by the Vice-Chairs of the APPG for Cyprus, Bambos Charalambous MP (Labour), Christine Jardine MP (Liberal Democrat), Caroline Nokes MP (Conservative); and Secretary Jack Dromey MP (Labour).
The letter highlighted the recent provocative statements from the illegal regime in the occupied area of Cyprus and the UN resolutions that the statements contravene. It went on to say that “we [the UK] cannot underestimate or downplay the statements made, or intentions telegraphed, by senior Turkish officials”. It also warned that “the statements and posturing emanating from Turkey must be of grave concern to the United Kingdom as Guarantor Power of the Republic of Cyprus’ independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity”. UN Security Council Resolution 550 (1984) and 789 (1992) explicitly call on Turkey to give control of Famagusta to the UN so that the town’s lawful residents can return.
The letter also acknowledged President Anastasiades’ constructive suggestion to establish a ‘Technical Committee on the Reconstruction and Resettlement of the fenced area of Varosha’. The committee would be tasked with evaluating the properties in Varosha so that the town’s lawful residents can return safely once technical work has been completed. The APPG for Cyprus described this as having “the undoubted potential to act as a substantive confidence building measure.”
At the end of the letter, Sir Roger Gale MP and the Officers of the APPG urged the UK Government “to consider all measures and pre-emptive actions that it can take to ensure that Varosha is not re-opened in a manner that contravenes UN resolutions and that it clearly voices in a strong and unequivocal manner its public opposition to such a possibility. It is, in our view, incumbent on the British Government to do so and to stand firmly on the side of international law and UN resolutions.”
Federation President, Christos Karaolis, commented, “I’m pleased that our representations have led to this strong and clear letter to the UK Government by our cross-party friends in Parliament. It’s time that the UK Government started taking Turkey’s statements and actions seriously, rather than simply appeasing President Erdogan’s unacceptable authoritarianism.”
In a statement earlier this year on Varosha, the UK Government said that, “We [the UK] fully support all relevant Security Council resolutions, including Resolutions 550 and 789… The UK remains convinced that a comprehensive settlement is the best chance of resolving these issues”.