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Cyprus

Return of Famagusta constitutes a priority its mayor says

Pre 1974 photo of Famagusta's sandy beaches

The return of the town of Famagusta to its lawful inhabitants should have been a priority to which Cyprus should have insisted more, Famagusta Mayor Alexis Galanos said.

Speaking to a seminar on the vision for the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta, Galanos said that the return of the town is a difficult task due to Turkey’s intransigence. According to confirmed information, he said, the Turkish side will construct a new tourist area in the region, something which is against the efforts for a Cyprus settlement.

Chairman of the Council for Reconstruction and Resettlement Nicos Mesaritis said that Famagusta is both a challenge and an opportunity, an international town which can host innovation and modern development infrastructure.

Mesaritis said that the Council has had so far meetings and collected material about similar projects in Lebanon, Northern Ireland and Berlin. He added that Turkish Cypriot civil engineers provided help as regards the restoration of enclaved people’s houses.

He said that the case of Famagusta is a difficult one and with particularities and that its former residents have joined forces with scientists from Famagusta and elsewhere, competent public services and the municipality for its restoration and resettlement.

The town of Famagusta (Varosha) was abandoned by its inhabitants in August 1974, as they fled the advancing Turkish troops which had launched a second offensive against Cyprus, having seized a large part of Kyrenia district. Since then, the town, abandoned to the elements, has been sealed off and is under the control of the Turkish military.

UN resolution 550 calls for the return of the city to its lawful inhabitants. So far Ankara has not complied with any calls from the international community to do just that.

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