The residence of the Cypriot ambassador in London cannot be sold as it is not owned by the Republic, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday.
The ministry was responding to a suggestion by the Urban Cyprus Society, a not-for-profit organisation, that the building be sold and a less expensive one bought to host the ambassador.
The group had said the building – located in Chelsea and worth an estimated 12 million pounds sterling -was too costly to maintain.
“People in Cyprus are fighting daily to make ends meet, and it is not right for (elitist) Cyprus to live in opulence in these ambassadorial residences,” the group said.
The proceeds from the building’s sale could go towards funding programmes for the unemployed in Cyprus, it added.
Responding, the foreign ministry said the building is being leased for 300 pounds sterling a year. The lease contract expires in 2028; it was initiated in 1971.
The contract in question is the most economically sound for the Republic, the ministry said.
The building comes under the clauses of the UK’s 1976 Leasehold Reform Act. The Republic may transfer its lease when the contract expires.