The President of the House of Representatives Annita Demetriou highlighted the special emphasis that the House attaches to the excellent cooperation with the Maronite religious community of Cyprus, both at the level of the community Representative in Parliament and at the level of the Church and social groups, during her meeting on Tuesday with the Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus Selim Sfeir.

According to a House statement, Demetriou stressed the great value of the Maronite tradition and cultural heritage for Cyprus and referred to the actions of support for the enclaved and resettled people in Kormakitis and Karpasia, as well as to the efforts to resolve the situation in the villages of Agia Marina and Asomatos, which are under military zone status and where access of the legal owners is prohibited by the Turkish occupation authorities.

The House President also stressed the need to make full use of the mission of the UN Secretary General’s Personal Envoy to break the deadlock and resume substantive talks to reach a solution to the Cyprus problem in the framework of the Security Council resolutions.

It is added that for his part, and after thanking the House President for all the initiatives taken to date to support the Maronites of Cyprus, Archbishop Sfeir mentioned the great importance attached to the reconstruction of the historic Monastery of Prophet Elias and the removal of obstacles to visits and celebration of liturgies, as well as the issues concerning access to Agia Marina and Asomatos.

The Maronite Archbishop also expressed his full agreement and support to the effort for a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem and described any project that brings people together as an investment in peace, the statement concluded.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

Turkey occupied 36,2 percent of the sovereign territory of the Republic and forcibly expelled about 180,000 Greek Cypriots from their homes. Another 20,000 Greek Cypriots, who had remained in the occupied areas, were also forced to eventually abandon their homes and seek refuge in the safety of the government controlled areas.

The Government of the Republic of Cyprus endorses relocation schemes to Turkish-occupied villages in the Karpas peninsula and to Maronite villages in the island’s Turkish-occupied northwest.

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