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Media Watch 2005

18 February 2005
Source: Cyprus Mail
Author: Myria Antoniadou
Comment: The following article appeared in the Cyprus Mail of Nicosia on 18 February 2005.
Famagusta group lobby MEPs for town’s reopening

FAMAGUSTA Mayor Yiannakis Skordis and municipal members yesterday completed a three-day “lobby visit” to Brussels for meetings with MEPs to promote the legal opening of the town’s port and the fenced off area.

Skordis said their suggestion, along similar lines to a government proposal, is that any decision could be implemented gradually. He said it could start with studies for the reconstruction of the closed part of the town, uninhabited since 1974.

“A possible dispatch of EU experts who would be in a position to strengthen the efforts exerted for the designing of the city and the work that has to be carried out would indeed help in the outmost,” the Municipality said in a memorandum given to parliamentarians.

According to Skordis their proposals are well received by MEPs, while sources told the Cyprus Mail that Turkish Cypriots in the area (including their ‘municipality’ members) are also positive as it would help economic development in the region.

The Famagusta Mayor said the opening of the port and the fenced off part of the town could work as a pilot project, with small measures taken that could in the future help in solving other problems.

He also referred to the political benefits, as it would help create a climate of cooperation, trust and faith in a future solution, while at the same time preparing the ground for an overall bi-zonal, bicommunal settlement.

Skordis underlined the economic benefits their proposal would have, not only for Greek Cypriots but also the Turkish Cypriots living in the region today as it would create jobs and facilitate development.

The Famagusta mayor said such a step would also prove Turkey is on a European course.

He did however doubt the viability of the Famagusta port opening without the closed area being inhabited.

The Famagusta municipality delegation heads to Luxembourg for meetings today."