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British High Commission, French, and US Embassies in Cyprus Joint Press Statement Regarding Situation in Pyla
August 18, 2023

The British High Commission, the French Embassy, and the U.S. Embassy in Cyprus express serious concern at the launch of unauthorised construction of a road leading from the north into the UN-delineated buffer zone to the bi-communal village of Pyla/Pile, and at emerging reports of assaults by Turkish Cypriot forces on United Nations Peacekeepers. 

We condemn the assaults against UN Peacekeepers and damage to UN vehicles by personnel of the Turkish Cypriot side this morning. Threats to the safety of UN Peacekeepers and damage to UN property constitute a serious crime under international law.

These actions are completely unacceptable and undermine the ability of the UN to fulfill its peacekeeping mandate. It is particularly regrettable that these actions continue despite the UN having presented a proposal addressing Turkish Cypriot concerns in the area. 

We urge Turkish Cypriot authorities to halt construction immediately. As stated in UNSC Resolution 2674 (30 January 2023), the sides should respect UNFICYP’s mandated authority in and delineation of the buffer zone, refrain from unilateral actions in contravention thereof, and remove all unauthorised constructions.

We call upon Turkish Cypriot authorities to refrain from any further escalatory actions that risk undermining the prospects for a return to settlement talks, and to immediately cease any form of violence against the UN Peacekeepers deployed to the area.

Unilateral or escalatory actions, including actions that could alter the status quo along the ceasefire lines or encroachment into the buffer zone must cease to allow steps to be taken to rebuild trust and work toward the resumption of negotiations. We reiterate our full support for UNFICYP and for Special Representative of the Secretary General Colin Stewart in their engagement with parties to avoid tensions that could undermine a peaceful settlement. We emphasize the urgent need for the Secretary-General to appoint a UN envoy and call on both sides to remain flexible and open toward taking steps to resume negotiations.