The ‘Bi-communal Famagusta Initiative’ has announced its establishment at a press conference at the Home for Cooperation in the UN-controlled buffer zone in Nicosia.
The Initiative which was founded in 1996 by Turkish Cypriots, says that its main aim is see the revival of Famagusta and its environs which includes Varosha. It also wants the ancient walled city of Famagusta to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Monument.
Such a project could begin before and be completed after a comprehensive settlement and will include all stakeholders, councils, residents, NGO’s, the business community and other experts, says the group.
Following recent developments and President Anastasiades’ proposal to open up Varosha as part of a package deal, a group of Greek Cypriots, including the Famagusta Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EVEA), welcomed the Turkish Cypriot initiative, and decided to join forces to develop a common vision for a sustainable revival of the wider Famagusta region.
One member of the Famagusta Initiative, Hulusi Kilim noted that a recent poll of Turkish Cypriot residents of Famagusta showed that 82% agreed with the proposal to return Varosha.
The ‘Bi-communal Famagusta Initiative’ hopes that agreement will be reached on confidence building measures, which will lead to a comprehensive settlement. Further, that a successful eventual revival of Famagusta will bring social, cultural, economic and political benefits for the whole island and thereby contribute to the peace process, it adds.
“In view of the recent developments, and in particular the various proposals to open the fenced off part of Varosha and also to open the port of Famagusta under the supervision of the European Union, a group of Greek Cypriots including the Famagusta Chamber of Commerce and Industry, decided to join forces with the Famagusta Initiative to develop a common vision for a sustainable revival of the wider Famagusta region”.
For Famagusta Initiative website click here