But “we cannot accept the 200 or 300 thousand settlers who have come illegally to the occupied areas during the last 37 years,” Mrs. Kozakou-Marcoullis told The Washington Times. “They have to leave.”
Government officials from the Greek and Turkish halves of Cyprus are to meet next month at the United Nations to discuss an agreement on uniting the island, where large reserves of oil and gas have been found offshore.
With a population of 1.1 million, Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey began occupying the northeastern half. Efforts to reunite the island have failed, in part, over the issue of Turkish settlers.
“Turkey is committing a crime against humanity by bringing these settlers into the occupied areas,” Mrs. Kozakou-Marcoullis said, citing a Geneva Convention ban on nations allowing their civilians to settle in occupied territories.
Pavlos Anastasiades, Cyprus‘ ambassador to the U.S., told The Times that the issue of Turkish settlers is “something we oppose very strongly, not only to U.S. officials but all our interlocutors.”
“They share our concern that this is one of the key issues that has to be resolved in the context of negotiations in a way that is acceptable to both sides,” he said.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
Ben Birnbaum is a reporter covering foreign affairs for The Washington Times. Prior to joining The Times, Birnbaum worked as a reporter-researcher at the New Republic. A Boston-area native, he graduated magna cum laude from Cornell University with a degree in government and psychology. He won multiple collegiate journalism awards for his articles and columns in the Cornell Daily Sun.
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