UN Security Council condemns attack on Cyprus peacekeepers

 The United Nations Security Council has condemned an attack on peacekeepers trying to stop “unauthorised construction” in the UN-controlled buffer zone on the ethnically split island of Cyprus.

On Friday, Turkish Cypriot security forces attacked members of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) in the buffer zone between the Greek Cypriot south and the Turkish Cypriot north near the village of Pyla, known as Pile in Turkish.

The incident resulted in injuries to four peacekeepers and damage to UN vehicles, said Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesman for UN Secretary General, António Guterres.

The peacekeepers were “preventing unauthorised construction work in the area, in accordance with their mandate,” Dujarric said.

The Security Council condemned “the assaults against UN peacekeepers and damage to UN vehicles by Turkish Cypriot personnel.

“They underlined that attacks targeting peacekeepers may constitute crimes under international law and reaffirmed their full commitment to the safety and security of all UN personnel.”

The Council also expressed “serious concern at the launch of unauthorised construction work by the Turkish Cypriot side inside the UN Buffer Zone.”

It also welcomed the halt in unauthorised construction by the Turkish Cypriot side and the removal of equipment and personnel.

According to Dujarric, the situation is calm today and the four injured peacekeepers have been released from hospital.

“The Mission is engaging with the Turkish Cypriot side, and all concerned, to agree a mutually acceptable way forward that respects the United Nations mandated authority inside the buffer zone,” said Dujarric.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry earlier condemned the UN intervention in the Turkish Cypriot road construction project and urged the body to respect Turkish Cypriot’s sovereignty and its “humanitarian” road project, accusing it of not being impartial.

Numerous UN mediations to overcome the island’s division, which dates back to 1974, have so far failed.  (dpa/NAN)