We support return of Turkish occupied Maronite villages to their legitimate residents, President says

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades said on Thursday evening that he fully supports the request of Maronites for the return of all four Maronite villages in the Turkish occupied areas to their legitimate residents.

President Anastasiades, who was addressing the opening of the restored House of Maron in Nicosia yesterday evening, said that the government is fully aware and respects the fact that Maronite community is an integral part of our country’s social, religious and cultural wealth and has always supported their goals on the protection of Maronite religious and cultural heritage including the protection of the Cypriot Maronite Arabic language.

He stressed that our main and unalterable goal was and continues to be to reach a viable and functional solution, which through the evolution of the Republic of Cyprus will create a state which will have full respect of human rights of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and all those God has blessed to live in this land.

A state which through its structure will guarantee the fundamental human rights that each EU citizen enjoys and the key principle of ensuring its complete independence and sovereignty away from foreign interventions, he added.

A normal state, President Anastasiades continued in which all legitimate residents will be able to prosper in conditions of security and peace, ridden by any dependencies or the presence of troops.

In this effort, I fully adopt and promote in every opportunity your longstanding requests, which aim for the prevalence of peace on our land as well as your absolutely justified request for the return of all four Maronite villages to their legitimate residents, he said.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Today, few enclaved Greek Cypriots and Maronites remain in the occupied areas.

Enclaved Maronites in Kormakitis and Karpasha are estimated at 150 people, while another 150 have been already resettled there.

Two more Maronite villages, Asomatos and Agia Marina, remain under the control of the Turkish occupation army since 1974 and are not open for habitation, despite official pronouncements by Turkish Cypriots for the opposite.

Source: Cyprus News Agency