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Media Watch 2007

27 April 2007
Source: Cyprus Weekly
Author:
Comment: The following article appeared in the Cyprus Weekly of Nicosia on 27 April 2007.
MEP makes call to Euro Commission on return of Famagusta
DISY MEP Panayiotis Demetriou has urged the European Commission to heed the call of Famagusta refugees and help return the ghost city to its rightful inhabitants.

"DISY MEP Panayiotis Demetriou has urged the European Commission to heed the call of Famagusta refugees and help return the ghost city to its rightful inhabitants.

His call came in the wake of a signature collection campaign by Famagusta Municipality.

Addressing the plenary of the European Parliament, Demetriou said the EU cannot ignore the rights of the people of Famagusta.

"There is only one ghost city in the world, uninhabited and in ruins. That is Famagusta. And it is on European territory, in the Republic of Cyprus, a member state of the European Union," he said.

Demetriou, who is a member of the EPP-ED group - the largest in the European Parliament, said Famagusta stood a hostage of Turkey's military occupation.

He referred to municipality's campaign, adding that the EU could not continue to ignore the problem, nor could Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn simply pass the issue on to the U N.

"The European Commission and especially Mr Rehn should heed the call of the people of Famagusta," he said.

Earlier this week, Famagusta mayor Alexis Galanos said some 30,000 people had signed the municipality's petition under the slogan "Let's give voice to our city".

The campaign - which ended on Monday, collected signatures from Famagusta refugees demanding that they be allowed to return to the fenced off town.

Galanos, said he was satisfied with the campaign's results so far and noted that Cypriots abroad could continue signing the petition until the beginning of May.

''Signatures are expected to reach 30,000, including the ones from abroad. We have made an important and positive step towards enlightenment'', the Mayor said.

Galanos said Famagusta Municipality expected the government and political parties to use the petition to boost efforts for a Cyprus settlement and the return of Famagusta to its lawful citizens.

"The European community and the people of Europe should be made aware of the fact that Turkey, a country that aspires to become an EU member state, is holding a European town with a great European history, as hostage in the most inhuman manner", he said.

Galanos said that Municipality's enlightenment efforts would include meetings with the European Parliament, the Council of the EU, the Council of European Municipalities and Regions, the national Parliaments, as well as the US Congress."