POLITICS

UN says it will block road construction that would encroach on a buffer zone in divided Cyprus

Aug 17, 2023, 10:34 AM

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — The U.N. mission in ethnically divided Cyprus said Thursday it will block construction by breakaway Turkish Cypriots of a road that would encroach on a U.N.-controlled buffer zone and likely raise tensions on the Mediterranean island nation.

The world body plans to “block or frustrate construction of the road by non-violent means,” said Aleem Siddique, spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping force, known as UNFICYP. The road would violate the forces’ mandate of maintaining the status quo inside the buffer zone, he added.

Work began earlier in the day on the road to connect the village of Arsos in the Turkish Cypriot north with the mixed Greek Cypriot-Turkish Cypriot village of Pyla, just south of the buffer zone and inside the Greek Cypriot south, where the island’s internationally recognized government is seated.

The road would give Turkish Cypriots direct access to Pyla by circumventing a checkpoint on the fringes of a British military base, one of two bases that the U.K. retained after Cyprus gained independence from British colonial rule in 1960.

Greek Cypriots perceive the road construction as a move with a military purpose at a sensitive spot along the buffer zone spanning 180 kilometers (120 miles).

Maintaining the status quo of the buffer zone is enshrined in the U.N. mission’s mandate since 1974, when Turkey invaded in the wake of a coup mounted by Greek junta-backed supporters of union with Greece.

The U.N. says there have been numerous infringements of the buffer zone by both sides over the years. But this road construction is seen as “an attempt at a very serious violation of the status quo,” according to Cyprus government spokesman Constantinos Letymbiotis.

Letymbiotis added that the Cyprus government is working with the U.N. peacekeepers to thwart the road construction.

The Cypriot government has been pushing hard to restart moribund negotiations to resolve the island’s division and warned that construction of the road would entail “negative repercussions” on efforts to resume talks and on Turkey’s relations with the EU.

Politics

Associated Press

Senate in Massachusetts passes bill curtailing use of plastics including bags, straws

BOSTON (AP) — The state Senate in Massachusetts has passed a wide-ranging bill curtailing the use of plastics, including barring the purchase of single-use plastic bottles by state agencies. The bill, approved Thursday, also bans carry-out plastic bags at retailers statewide and require stores to charge 10 cents for recycled paper bags. It also requires […]

1 day ago

Associated Press

A U.S. envoy visits Hanoi days after Putin, saying US-Vietnam trust is at ‘all-time high’

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — A senior U.S. diplomat held talks in Vietnam on Saturday and said that the trust between the two countries was at an “all-time high,” just days after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s state visit to Hanoi. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink insisted that his […]

1 day ago

Associated Press

Trump endorses Ten Commandments in schools, implores evangelical Christians to vote in November

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump told a group of evangelicals they “cannot afford to sit on the sidelines” of the 2024 election, imploring them at one point to “go and vote, Christians, please!” Trump also endorsed displaying the Ten Commandments in schools and elsewhere while speaking to a group of politically influential evangelical Christians in […]

2 days ago

Associated Press

US will ‘gradually’ resume avocado inspections in conflictive Mexican state, ambassador says

MEXICO CITY (AP) — U.S. government inspections of avocados and mangoes in the Mexican state of Michoacan will “gradually” resume, U.S. Ambassador Ken Salazar announced Friday, a week after they were suspended over an assault on inspectors. The U.S. Agriculture Department inspectors “will gradually begin to return to the packing plants following recent aggression against […]

2 days ago

Associated Press

Ex-CEO of Nevada-based health care company Ontrak convicted of $12.5 million insider trading scheme

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The former CEO and chairman of Ontrak, a publicly traded health care company based in Nevada, was found guilty Friday of a multimillion-dollar insider trading scheme. A federal jury in Los Angeles convicted Terren Scott Peizer, a resident of Puerto Rico and Santa Monica, California, of one count of securities fraud […]

2 days ago

Associated Press

Guest lineups for the Sunday news shows

WASHINGTON (AP) — ABC’s “This Week” — Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. ___ NBC’s “Meet the Press” — Mitch Landrieu, national co-chair of President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign; Gov. Kristi Noem, R-S.D. ___ CBS’ “Face the Nation” — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M.; former national security adviser Robert C. O’Brien; former Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell. […]

2 days ago

UN says it will block road construction that would encroach on a buffer zone in divided Cyprus