By Lanting Liu
The Chinese Embassy has donated €62,000 to the Cyprus Forest Association to develop a forest park at Melini in Limassol, contributing to the efforts to restore an area that suffered from the catastrophic wildfire in July.
The wildfire claimed four lives and caused big damage to properties and the environment. Melini was one of the worst-affected areas.
Chinese Ambassador Liu Yantao and the Disy leader Averof Neophytou were at the signing ceremony at the Chinese Embassy. Two Chinese companies operating in Cyprus, Outfit7 and Huawei Cyprus, signed an agreement with Cyprus Forest Association, for the donation of €62,000 to develop the Melini Forest Park.
The Cyprus Forest Association will design and implement the project in accordance with regulations, but also seek the consent of the local community. As part of their CSR commitment, Outfit7 and Huawei each pledged €25,000 while the Chinese embassy pledged €12,000.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, ambassador Liu expressed his condolences to the families of the deceased and wholehearted support to those affected.
He said: “I watched with grief how the blaze claimed lives and wreaked havoc on the natural beauty of Cyprus.”
He also referred to this year’s 50th anniversary of diplomatic relationship between China and Cyprus. “As true friends of the people and government of Cyprus, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Mr Wang Yi sent a letter of condolence to Cyprus Foreign Minister Mr Christodoulides soon afterwards. The Chinese Embassy has since launched a fund-raising activity among Chinese companies in Cyprus, aiming to contribute whatever is within our capacity to help with the rebuilding process.”
Ambassador Liu said he hoped the donation would be put to good use and “help in the rebuilding process and make the park a new symbol of China-Cyprus friendship”.
Neophytou thanked the Chinese Embassy and Chinese companies for their generous donation. He said: “Cyprus and China are true friends, sharing the same principles and values. As we celebrate 50 years of diplomatic ties, the donation from China is an illustration of the solidarity and friendship between our two peoples.”