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Media Watch 2003

10 August 2003
Source: Cyprus Mail
Comment: The following article appeared in the Cyprus Mail of Nicosia on 10 September 2003 written by a Staff Reporter.
Cabinet committee estimates £6 billion needed to repair the north

IT WILL take an estimated £6 billion to finance reconstruction in the northern occupied part of Cyprus, according to a ministerial committee in charge of planning for the return of displaced persons to municipalities and communities currently under Turkish occupation after a political settlement.

The committee comprises the ministers of Interior, Communications and Works, Finance, and Education; it had its first meeting yesterday to set out the basic parameters for the work required.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Interior Minister Andreas Christou said that a team of government officials would be formed with the participation of the Cyprus Technical Chamber (ETEK), which has already prepared a study on this issue.

Christou said this team would be meeting soon to begin work on the specifics.

Other organisations, such as municipal authorities or semi-government organisations, would be invited to participate in the project, Christou said.

The ministerial committee is working on a tight schedule, having been given by the Cabinet a three-month deadline to complete the project’s preparative work.

“What we are talking about here is a reconstruction of basic infrastructures, public buildings and a finance package to help jumpstart these services,” Christou noted.
“But we don’t plan to rebuild or repair every last house or plot of land,” he clarified.

The Interior Minister denied reports that reconstruction would take place only in Famagusta.
“We look at all of the occupied territories as being part of the economic development of the whole of Cyprus,” he said.

“Naturally, priority will be given to those areas that would be returned (following a settlement).”
Although Christou said it was too early to calculate the cost of the project, he quoted a “very rough estimate” of £6 billion, an astronomical figure by Cypriot standards.
Obviously economic help from abroad would be needed to finance the project, Christou added, but did not elaborate.
“Without economic assistance, these very important political goals cannot be achieved.”

The government has already drafted an alternative budget for 2004 that would be implemented in the event of a solution to the Cyprus problem."