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Larnaca airport to be named after Glafcos Clerides (updated)

The cabinet on Thursday decided to name Larnaca airport after former president Glafcos Clerides in recognition of his contribution to the country.

According to the decision, the airport will be named Glafcos Clerides Larnaca International Airport.

Clerides, who was president between 1993 and 2003, died two years ago at the age of 94.

A government statement said Clerides was an internationally recognised political personality who had also taken part in the fight against Nazism.

The cabinet also took into account his contribution in the struggles of Cypriot Hellenism, as well as the Republic of Cyprus, culminating in the huge success of EU accession.

Communist AKEL disagreed with the decision, which it described as unilateral.

“Exaggeration in efforts to honour late presidents is unfortunately a frequent phenomenon in Cyprus,” party spokesman Giorgos Loukaides said. “But even exaggerations must have a limit.”

Loukaides said usually the choice was a personality who is generally or fully accepted by the people.

“We regret to observe that Glafcos Clerides, whom we respect despite our many differences, is the historic leader of the Right in Cyprus, but not the historic leader of Cyprus” who enjoyed general acceptance.

The cabinet, he said, had operated as a party and not a state body.

EDEK said the decision was mistimed and wrong.

The party said the current name was established and recognised internationally and changing it would only create confusion and problems “during a difficult period for the Cypriot economy and the tourism industry.”

EDEK said in the past,  proposals to rename the airport after former presidents Spyros Kyprianou and Tassos Papadopoulos were rejected for the same reasons.

It said it fully respected Clerides and the good intention of those wishing to honour historic personalities, but a government should examine all the dimensions of such issues carefully and with seriousness.

“We think that this tendency to politicise everything to serve petty interests must stop,” EDEK said.

The Glafcos Clerides Institute welcomed the decision to honour a man who succeeded in setting aside the hatred of the past that did so much damage to the country.

“As president he achieved Cyprus’ accession to the EU and as a man he defended the consolidation of democracy and actively participated in the world struggle against Nazism and Fascism,” the institute said in a statement.

 

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