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Cyprus

British bases delay over title deeds ‘unacceptable’

Parliamentarians on Tuesday accused the administration of the Sovereign Base Areas (SBA) of “a display of sovereignty” in not approving the issuing of title deeds to refugees living in self-housing settlements.

The issue relates to refugees living in such settlements in the villages of Dasaki and Trahoni.

Legislators spoke of an inexcusable delay in the SBA not giving the nod to title deeds, even in cases where the applicants have gone through the proper procedures with the land registry and have all the paperwork in place.

Nicos Kettiros, chair of the House refugees committee, said that for the two villages in question the land registry has completed the title deed procedures as far back as 2018.

But the new administration of the SBA, without any legal justification, is not consenting to rubberstamping the title deeds – a departure from previous practice.

“In our view, the situation is unacceptable,” said Kettiros. “The land registry has effectively frozen the process of title deeds in the two communities due to this state of affairs, and the problem grows with time.

“Through the information given to us by the land registry, it is clear that the political administrator of the [British] bases is making a display of sovereignty, as he did a few months ago when he forbade [football club] Omonia from using the sports field in [Dasaki] Achna.”

It emerged that title deeds are being held up in 387 cases.

Edek MP Costis Efstathiou said the SBA authorities are now using the term ‘Crown Land’ when referring to the land inside the bases.

“If this is the policy of the English, if this is their position, you understand that it raises a major issue of sovereignty, and the Cypriot parliament and government must react,” he told reporters.

An official with the Department of Lands and Surveys told the committee that the written consent of the SBA governor is needed for the title deeds procedure to go forward.

This used to happen up until 2017. From 2018 onward, after the change in administration, the governor does not give his consent.

The committee will revisit the matter, and will be summoning the ministers of foreign affairs and the interior, as well as the attorney-general.

 

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