Mayor of Famagusta Alexis Galanos and MEP Takis Hadjigeorgiou on Friday urged refugees from occupied Famagusta to participate in the visit of a delegation of the European Parliament`s Committee on Petitions (Peti) next week to demonstrate their will for the return of Varosha, in accordance with UN resolutions.
A Peti delegation will be on the island on Monday and Tuesday to conduct a fact-finding visit to occupied Famagusta to reassess the situation following their first visit to the town a decade ago because of a petition submitted in 2004 by Loizos Afxentiou on behalf of the Famagusta Refugee Movement. That petition called for the return of the closed-off area of Famagusta (Varosha) to its lawful inhabitants.
The MEPs will meet on Monday with members of civil society in the Republic. They will also meet the foreign minister and attend a working dinner with the president of the House.
On Tuesday they will cross to the north and visit Glossa beach, which borders the fenced off city of Varosha, and attend an event at the cultural centre of Famagusta municipality in Dherynia in the government-controlled areas. The MEPs will not be able to enter the fenced-off area of Famagusta, which is under the direct control of the Turkish military.
Galanos urged refugees from Famagusta to attend the event at the cultural centre, which is set to take place at 1pm. Free buses will transfer people from Nicosia, Larnaca and Limassol who wish to attend the event to Dherynia.
The mayor said the visit is taking place at a time when the Cyprus issue is at a crucial point, when no talks are actually taking place.
He also said the committee will ascertain if there has been sufficient progress and advise accordingly the European Parliament and its foreign affairs committee on how the Famagusta issue is progressing.
“We hope the visit will result in the implementation of the European Parliament resolutions as well as the security council resolutions on Famagusta and the second high-level agreement between the late President of Cyprus Spyros Kyprianou and ( the late) Turkish Cypriot Leader Rauf Denktash,” Galanos said.
Hadjigeorgiou, who initiated the visit, said he still believes that Famagusta can provide Cypriots with the opportunity to start dialogue on a Cyprus solution.
He too urged the people of Famagusta to join the MEPs during their visit to Glossa beach in the north at 10am on Tuesday and the event later in Dherynia.
He also criticised the UN for not facilitating an MEP visit to the fenced- off area of Famagusta.
On Tuesday buses from Nicosia will depart at 10.30am from the parking area of the Cyprus Handicraft Centre. From Limassol they will depart at 10.15am from the offices of Famagusta municipality.
From Larnaca departure will be at 11am from the parking area of the stadium of Anorthosis FC ‘Antonis Papadopoulos’ and from the stadium of Nea Salamina FC, ‘Famagusta Return’.