Vatican particularly interested in Cyprus problem and violation of human rights by Turkey, Photiou tells CNA

The Vatican is particularly interested in issues related to the violation of human rights in Cyprus by Turkey, and the destruction of religious heritage sites in the Turkish occupied part of the island, as well as about the developments in the Cyprus problem, Presidential Commissioner, Photis Photiou, has told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA).

Photiou who held on Wednesday and Thursday meetings in the Vatican with the Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, and the Secretary for Relations with States of the Holy See, Paul Richard Gallagher, said that the Vatican officials were interested in being updated on developments in the Cyprus problem.

Moreover, he noted that they discussed issues concerning the Maronites living in Cyprus, while they focused on human right violations. I briefed them on the issues related to the missing persons in Cyprus, the destruction of churches in Cyprus’ occupied areas and about the problems which the enclaved are facing, he added.

The Commissioner said that the Vatican officials showed particular interest in all of these issues and told him that they will send the necessary messages wherever appropiate, taking concrete steps. Moreover, he said that the two officials underlined that the Holy See is not interested only in issues related to the Maronites and Latins living in Cyprus, but in all issues related to the island.

Photiou also noted that he discussed with them about a possible cooperation between Cyprus and the Vatical on religious, cultural and educational issues.

The Presidential Commissioner also had a meeting in Rome with Undersecretary of State at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperatio,n Ricardo Antonio Merlo. Photiou said that they discussed about a possible cooperation between the two countries on diaspora issues, adding that both Cyprus and Italy believe that their relations will be further enhanced through such a cooperation.

We agreed that the two sides will make concrete suggestions so that an MoU can be concluded, he added.

Moreover, Photiou had on Wednesday a meeting with the Diplomatic Advisor to the Grand Chancellor of the Sovereign Order of Malta Stefano Ronca, who is scheduled to visit Cyprus. The Presidential Commissioner said that the Sovereign Order has already offered humanitarian aid to the Maronites living in Cyprus. Now they want to offer more humanitarian aid and we will make suggestions on this, the Commissioner said.

Photiou traveled today to Napoli where tomorrow he will attend the opening ceremony of celebrations for the International Greek Language Day.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.

Source: Cyprus News Agency