UNFICYP engaging with both sides to quell tension around Spitfire cafe

UNFICYP monitoring area around building undergoing restoration and collapse-prevention work

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Nicosia makes representations to UNFICYP over harassment of Nicosia Municipality crew

The UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) continues to actively patrol the sensitive area around Spitfire café and is closely monitoring developments on the ground, UNFICYP Spokesperson Aleem Siddique told the Cyprus News Agency, invited to comment on the situation in the area after the Nicosia Municipality said on Friday that it has stopped work to shore up a dilapidated building, which housed the Spitfire coffeeshop, at Paphos Gate, Nicosia, after its crews were repeatedly harassed by Turkish troops.

Siddique noted that UNFICYP is engaging with relevant stakeholders on both sides and at the highest level to arrive at a peaceful resolution and prevent tension, noting that “the Mission reiterates the need for all concerned to work constructively with UNFICYP to that end.”

He went on to say that “at this juncture, UNFICYP calls on involved parties to suspend all ongoing activity in and around the Spitfire Cafe.”

“At this juncture, UNFICYP calls on involved parties to suspend all ongoing activity in and around the Spitfire Cafe.”

In a statement on its Facebook page, the Nicosia Municipality said that “unfortunately, because of the continuous harassment from the Turkish occupation army, we are forced to withdraw the crews from the area and suspend work.”

“We are sorry because the UN, despite discussions we held in the past one-and-a-half years, have not managed to provide our contractor’s crews the necessary protection to continue the necessary work to prevent the collapse of the building,” it noted.

“The good cooperation we have with Turkish Cypriots, as part of the Nicosia Master Plan, did not prevent interventions and harassment, the municipality said.”

“We are also sorry because the good cooperation we have with Turkish Cypriots, as part of the Nicosia Master Plan, did not prevent interventions and harassment,” the Municipality said.

The Spitfire building was an emblematic Nicosia spot that was left to deteriorate after the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus when the coffee shop fell within the borders of the UN-controlled buffer zone separating the island.

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