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Cyprus

Govt expects strong interest in scheme to resettle villages in north

The high school in Rizokarpaso

Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou on Wednesday said he expects that a significant number of young couples would make use of a scheme that was approved on Tuesday by the cabinet giving incentives to those who want to resettle in villages in the north where Greek Cypriots are living.

Photiou told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) that approximately 50 applications are already pending and will be examined now that the scheme has been approved.

Cabinet approved the scheme for couples up to 45 years old to resettle in Rizokarpaso, Ayia Triada and the Maronite villages of Kormakitis and Karpasha.

Photiou said the scheme, which will enter into force immediately, provides €15, 000 to families with children up to 18 years old and €10, 000 to couples with no children. An additional €2,000 will be given to purchase  household goods, while another €3,000 could be given for occupation purposes.

The commissioner said there is no limit to the number of couples who can apply, noting that there are approximately 50 applications which are already pending and will now be examined., Photiou said he expects that a significant number of couples will make use of these incentives.

Photiou said that resettlement in the Karpasia area is particularly encouraged, recalling that there is a school for the children there.

He made clear that the decision taken by the cabinet was completely separate from plans announced this week by the Turkish Cypriot regime.

Turkish Cypriot ‘Foreign Minister’ Kudret Ozersay announced on Tuesday evening that contracts would be signed within the week to remove current residents living in 10 in 15 houses in the village of Karpasha to which former Maronite residents will then be able to return.

The announcement is linked with a 2017 decision – following the collapse of reunification talks – relating to the return of the Maronites to their villages in the north.

Ayia Marina, Asomatos, and Karpasha are the three Maronite villages controlled by the Turkish military since 1974. Ayia Marina and Asomatos are currently off limits, while Karpasha is also under military control but residents are allowed to live there. The fourth Maronite village, Kormakitis has been open to its original residents to resettle since 2003. At the moment, a total of around 200 Maronites, mostly pensioners, live in Kormakitis and Karpasha.

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