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Cyprus

Government ‘doing its utmost to stop illegal tax on humanitarian aid’

File photo of Unficyp soldiers delivering food to Greek Cypriots in Karpasia

The government is making continuous efforts to deal with the consequences of the “unacceptable and inhumane” decision by  the Turkish Cypriot side to impose “taxes” on the humanitarian aid sent to the enclaved in the north, Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou said on Wednesday.

“We are doing everything possible to address these problems, especially for the elderly and the children,” Photiou noted, speaking to the press at parliament.

He said that a request from him several days ago for permission to send at least some specialised food items has gone unheeded. He was due to raise the issue again with the UN.

The Turkish Cypriot side imposed a levy on food aid from October 1, arguing that the enclaved have freedom of movement so such aid was no longer needed. Medical aid is still allowed through without taxes.

The government, Photiou said, was doing its utmost to get the United Nations, the EU and other countries to exercise pressure on the Turkish side to lift this “unacceptable measure”.

A total of 437 (April 2013) persons remain in the north of whom 328 are Greek Cypriot and 109 Maronite Cypriots.

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