Denktash Threatens New Restrictions on UN Peacekeepers in Northern Cyprus
Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash threatened Thursday to impose new restrictions on the UN troops on the divided island in retaliation to the wording of a UN Security Council resolution extending the peacekeepers' mandate.
"The current situation will remain unchanged for the UN soldiers," Denktash told reporters here in defiance of a UN call to lift the existing restrictions imposed in June.
"We will look into what else we can restrict," the leader of the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) added.
The UN Security Council voted unanimously Wednesday for a resolution to extend the mandate of the peacekeepers, known as UNFICYP, for six months to June 15, 2001.
The mandate of the force was due to expire on Friday.
Denktash described the resolution as "erroneous and unjust" for acknowledging the Greek Cypriot government as the legitimate government of the whole island and ignoring the TRNC.
"It encourages Greek Cypriots to colonize the Turkish Cypriots, and thus a new bloodshed on the island," he charged.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey occupied its northern third in response to an Athens-backed coup in Nicosia seeking to unite the island with Greece.
In the resolution, the council also urged the "the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkish forces to rescind the restrictions imposed on June 30, 2000, on the operations of UNFICYP."
But Denktash said UN peacekeepers' operations in northern Cyprus depended on either a separate arrangement between the UN and the TRNC or the acceptance of the TRNC's conditions.
On June 29, the TRNC, upset over the previous UN resolution extending the peacekeepers' mandate, imposed three restrictions on the UN troops,
The most serious measure obliged UN soldiers to enter or leave the north through a single point, the Ledra Palace in Nicosia, instead of 13.
A second required the peacekeepers to insure their official vehicles through a TRNC agency, and a third required the UN to pay the TRNC for the water and electricity used in its two UN camps in the north of the island.
The contingent of 1,210 peacekeepers was first deployed on the island in March 1964 after riots between the two communities, which resulted in the minority Turkish Cypriots' expulsion from the then joint government.
The Turkish Cypriots and Turkey want recognition of the TRNC and Cyprus's reunification within a confederation of two states, while Greek Cyprus and the international community favour a "bi-zonal, bi-communal" federation -- NICOSIA (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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