French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian expressed support for Cyprus on Wednesday, after a move by Turkish Cypriot authorities to partially reopen an abandoned town for potential resettlement, which had drawn a strong rebuke from rival Greek Cypriots, Reuters reports.
Le Drian said he discussed the matter on July 20 with his Cypriot counterpart and would be raising the topic at the United Nations.
The town in question, Varosha, has been deserted since a 1974 war split the island. Greek Cypriots fear Turkey intends to appropriate it. Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades described the move as “illegal and unacceptable.”
“I want to send the strongest message to Mr Erdogan and his local proxies that the unacceptable actions and demands of Turkey will not be accepted,” Anastasiades said.
Greece’s Foreign Ministry said it condemned the move “in the strongest terms”, while the United Kingdom, a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, said it would be discussing the issue as a matter of urgency with other council members, saying it was “deeply concerned”.
“The UK calls on all parties not to take any actions which undermine the Cyprus settlement process or increase tensions on the island,” a Foreign Office spokesperson said.