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Military chiefs on both sides should talk: Lund

23 September 2014

The recently appointed UNFICYP’s Force Commander, Major General Kristin Lund has said that it is important for the Chief of the National Guard, Lieutenant General Georgios Basiakoulis and the commander of the Turkish “occupation force”, Major General Ilyas Bozkurt to meet up and talk, ‘Famagusta Gazette’ reports.

In an interview with ‘Kibris Postasi’, she said that they should work for increasing trust among them.

“My personal view is that instead of having messengers among us, it would be better if the commanders talked to each other. This is important”, said Major General Lund.

Cypriots from both sides of the island should engage in joint activities [to build trust], Lund said, adding that many people were involved in finding a solution to the Cyprus problem. This task should not only fall to the politicians, she said.

With regard to allegations that UNFICYP is taking a holiday in Cyprus, Lund emphasised that that is a comment made by people who have not been in Cyprus. She has been on the island for five weeks and is always working, Lund said.

Reminding everyone that it is the duty of UNFICYP to ensure that there are no conflicts on the island, she said that she had visited the whole of the island, since she arrived five weeks ago.

Asked whether she visited the “occupied” fenced off city of Varosha, Lund said: “Going to the fenced off Varosha was saddening. That place remained closed for years. They have to decide what they will do. Going there is very dangerous. Therefore they need a special plan. I do not know whether the buildings will be demolished, new road systems will be built and buildings will be reconstructed. However, first it should be decided who owns what”.

Asked to comment on reports in the Greek Cypriot press that the UN soldiers will evacuate Ledra Palace Hotel in the buffer zone where a hotel and a casino will be built, Lund replied: “We have an agreement with the Republic of Cyprus for maintaining troops here. If one of the buildings which we use belongs to them and we are asked to find another place, we will find another place”.

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