Tuesday, 25 October 2022
Details of a testy phone call between Greek Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs Ioannis Kasoulides and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy in Cyprus and Chief of Peacekeeping Mission Colin Stewart have been leaked by Greek Cypriot daily ‘Phileleftheros’, Kibris Postasi reported.
Reportedly the Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister is angry because a stadium located in the UN buffer zone being renovated for Turkish Cypriot footballers to practise in.
Kasoulides said that he was disturbed by the fact that Turkish soldiers were overseeing the building works in the buffer zone, and argued that it is “unacceptable” to set up a barrier along the area”.
The barrier Kasoulides referred to is being constructed to prevent footballs from the new stadium landing on the Greek Cypriot side.
Kasoulides also conveyed his dissatisfaction with the activities of the TRNC forces that put the Famagusta Hospital’s status in doubt. He told Stewart, “The National Guard has never entered the buffer zone to oversee the technical work“.
Colin Stewart, on the other hand, pointed out that the Greek Cypriot foreign minister had been misinformed about the presence of Turkish soldiers in the Taksim area, and said that they are the ones who were causing tension over this issue.
Reportedly, Kasoulides said twice that, “If the UN continues to display the same attitude, the mandate of the Greek Cypriot Administration’s Peacekeeping Force will expire. He threatened that he would not consent to the extension”.
The Greek Cypriot Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which recorded that Stewart had dinner with Mario Nava, the Director-General of UN Structural Reforms the night before, and flew to Canada the next day, said that the Turkish Cypriot side had demanded a separate agreement for the presence and activities of the UN Peace Corps in the TRNC. Important information about what will be involved was also included.
The presence of UNFICYP personnel has vexed the Turkish Cypriots because their side has never been consulted.
Recently, the TRNC Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu said that if UNFICYP continued to ignore the Turkish Cypriots’ wishes, their presence would not be welcome on the Turkish Cypriot side. [Ed.]