Nicosia Mayor Constantinos Yiorkadjis warned that moving parliament permanently from the centre would create serious problems to the capital, including harming efforts to revitalise areas neighbouring the buffer zone.

Yiorkadjis said in a written statement that businesspeople were also concerned over the possibility of parliament remaining at Philoxenia conference centre, which was in the jurisdiction of Aglandjia municipality.

It had moved there last year because it was impossible to apply health and safety measures against the coronavirus because of the smaller size of the committee rooms at the existing building.

The lease expired in December and renewing it would create problems, the Nicosia mayor said, calling on parliament to return to its base.

“I understand the rehousing was on a temporary basis due to the coronavirus pandemic and the measures,” he said. “Today; when workers have returned to their departments, schools will open normally, and a large percentage of the population has vaccinated, we expect that parliament will return.”

A permanent move to Philoxenia would weaken state and municipal efforts to revitalise the areas neighbouring the buffer zone, warning that abandoning those areas was tantamount to accepting the effects of the invasion and occupation.

Yiorkadjis said it would also harm efforts to attract investors to the centre, depriving Nicosia of a significant advantage in attracting quality tourism.

“Nicosia has invested in conference tourism and removing the conference centre would harm the city’s potential to attract tourism and significantly impact businesses in the conference and exhibition sectors.”

It also risked discouraging planned investment into creating or upgrading current hotel units.

Yiorkadjis said across the world, buildings that housed and symbolised the three state powers were located at the centre.

“Parliament should not only remain at the centre, but it is necessary to realise plans to house all state services and ministries at the centre.”