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EU Slams Erdogan Over Varosha Visit

The EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has also called for a settlement of the Cyprus problem on the basis of United Nations’ resolutions

The European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, has slammed a visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the breakaway Turkish Cypriot north of Cyprus on Sunday during which he called for a “two-state” solution, the media reported.

The EU foreign policy chief has also called for a settlement of the Cyprus problem on the basis of United Nations’ resolutions, Kathimerini reported.

According to the report, Mr Borrell said the  actions “should be urgently reversed” since it will cause “greater distrust and tension in the region.”

It has been reported that Erdogan visited Varosha, a beach resort abandoned by Greek Cypriots fleeing Turkey’s invasion in 1974.

Meanwhile, Erdogan asked the parliament to authorize sending soldiers to Azerbaijan to establish a “peacekeeping center” with Russia to monitor a truce over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, the Arab News reported.

Erdogan’s request followed two days of talks in Ankara with Russian officials about how the two regional powers intend to jointly implement a Russian-brokered cease-fire signed last week.

Turkey is one of Azerbaijan’s closest allies and has strongly defended its right to reclaim lands it lost to ethnic Armenian separatists in a 1988-94 war.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed an order to set up an inter-departmental humanitarian response centre to resolve humanitarian issues and rebuild civil infrastructure in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

According to the order published by the Kremlin, the centre is tasked with facilitating the return of displaced people to their home in the conflict-ridden Nagorno-Karabakh, reports Xinhua news agency.

Putin also asked the centre to help state bodies of Azerbaijan and Armenia to restore civil infrastructure in Nagorno-Karabakh and create proper conditions for its people to live a normal life.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have been at loggerheads over the mountainous region of Nagorno-Karabakh since 1988. The latest round of armed conflict broke out in the region in September, causing heavy casualties and property losses.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Putin signed a joint statement on Monday, agreeing on a complete ceasefire in the region.

As agreed, Russia will deploy a peacekeeping contingent consisting of 1,960 servicemen with small arms, 90 armoured personnel carriers, and 380 vehicles to the region.

This is the fourth ceasefire since last month.

Photo taken on Sept. 29, 2020 shows a man walking by a house damaged during clashes in the Tartar district bordering the Nagorno-Karabakh region. (Photo by Tofik Babayev/Xinhua)

Exchange of bodies

Azerbaijan and Armenia exchanged the bodies of a number of servicemen who were killed during the fighting around the city of Shusha in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, according to the defence authorities in Baku.

An unspecified number of bodies of the Armenian armed forces were handed over on Saturday, while the bodies of six Azerbaijani servicemen were returned, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Russian peacekeeping force stationed in the Nagorno-Karabakh region also took part in the event, Azerbaijan’s Defence Ministry said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the search and retrieval of the conflict victims are underway with the involvement of the Russian peacekeepers and the Red Cross, according to the Defence Ministry of Armenia.

The exchange was organized in accordance with Article 8 of a joint statement signed on November 8 by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Russian President Vladimir Putin, agreeing on a complete ceasefire in the conflict-ridden region.

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