By Evie Andreou
The island’s Maronite community would like the return of all its property under Greek Cypriot administration after a Cyprus solution, the parliamentary representative of the Maronites, Antonis Hadjiroussos, said on Monday.
Hadjiroussos, accompanied by the Maronite Archbishop Youssef Soueif, met with President Nicos Anastasiades at the presidential palace to discuss issues concerning the Maronite community and the settlement negotiations.
Speaking to reporters afterwards, Archbishop Soueif said that one of the issues they raised was the return of the Maronite villages of Ayia Marina and Asomatos to their rightful owners in the case of a solution of the Cyprus problem.
He added that it was very important for a minority to be connected with its villages, its church and its ancestral land. Cypriot Maronites, he said, had lived on the island for 1200 years and “are an integral part of the history and culture of Cyprus”.
Hadjiroussos told the Cyprus Mal that even though the Maronite community had access to its other two villages in the north – Kormakitis and Karpasha – Ayia Marina and Asomatos are now under Turkish military control.
“We sometimes get permission to visit the churches there, but the two villages are now a military area,” Hadjiroussos said.
He added that they asked President Anastasiades to propose, as part of the confidence building measures, for the Turkish army to allow the residents of Ayia Marina and Asomatos to return to their villages.
In the case a settlement, Hadjiroussos said, the Maronite community would like all of its property to come under the Greek Cypriot administration, “as we had chosen as per the 1960 constitution”.
He added that President Anastasiades told them that he would promote their request when the property issue is discussed.