Mayor of Famagusta Alexis Galanos and Euro MP Takis Hadjigeorgiou urged people from the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta to participate in the visit of a delegation of the European Parliament`s Committee on Petitions next week to demonstrate their will for the return of the city, in accordance with UN resolutions
The Committee on Petitions will conduct a fact-finding visit to the occupied by Turkish troops city of Famagusta, on 7-8 May 2018. The purpose of the mission, according to the Committee, is to reassess the situation in Famagusta, and in particular Varosha, the sealed-off section of the city, in the context of the follow-up to petition 733/2004, 10 years after the Committee’s previous fact-finding visit to the island, which took place on 25-28 November 2007.
The MEPs will visit on Tuesday the `Glossa` beach bordering the fenced off city of Varosha in Famagusta, in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus. They will also take part in a gathering at the Famagusta Cultural Centre in Dherynia, which borders the occupied city.
Galanos said the visit takes place at a time when the Cyprus issue is at a crucial point, when no talks are actually taking place.
He also said the Committee will ascertain if there has been sufficient progress and to advise accordingly the EP Foreign Affairs Committee and the European Parliament on how the Famagusta issue is progressing.
The mayor of the occupied town welcomed the visit which, he said, “we hope will result in the implementation of the EP resolutions as well as the Security Council resolutions on Famagusta and the second High Level agreement between the late President of Cyprus Spyros Kyprianou and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.”
On his part, Hadjigeorgiou said he still believes that Famagusta can provide Cypriots with the opportunity for the dialogue to begin for a Cyprus solution.
He too urged the people of Famagusta to attend the events and criticised the UN for not facilitating the visit of the MEPs to the fenced off area of Famagusta.
The MEPs will begin their contacts in Cyprus with meetings on Monday with members of civil society. They will also meet the Foreign Minister and attend a working dinner with the President of the House of Representatives. On Tuesday they will cross to Famagusta and attend the event at the Famagusta Cultural Centre. The MEPs will not be able to enter the fenced off area of Famagusta, which under the direct control of the Turkish military.
The Republic of Cyprus, an EU member state since 2004, has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
Varosha, the fenced – off part of the once thriving holiday resort, on the eastern coast of Cyprus, has been sealed since the 1974 Turkish invasion and according to the UN the Turkish military is responsible for it. Repeated attempts to hand the area to UN administration and its Greek Cypriot legal inhabitants have so far failed due to the stance of the Turkish army.