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Over 30,000 signatures for occupied Famagusta petition
2007-04-26 10:29:12

Nicosia, Apr 23 - Over 30,000 people have so far signed the Famagusta Municipality’s petition under the slogan “Let’s give voice to our city”, which began on April 14 and ends on May 10, 2007.

The campaign’s aim is to collect signatures by Famagusta refugees demanding that they be allowed to return to the fenced off town, which is occupied by Turkish troops since 1974.

Mayor of the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta, said: “The European community and the people of Europe should be made aware of the fact that Turkey, a country that aspires to become an EU member state, is holding a European town with a great European history, as hostage in the most inhuman manner.”

Mr. Galanos also said that the Famagusta Municipality’s enlightenment efforts would include meetings with the European Parliament, the Council of the EU, the Council of European Municipalities and Regions, the national Parliaments, as well as the US Congress.

Referring to the US, he said that in the last few years, Cyprus has “neglected the US factor” in the area of enlightenment and added that in the light of the US elections, the overseas Cypriots should begin a new campaign on Cyprus.

The fenced-off area (Varosha) of Famagusta is under Turkish military administration. Security Council resolution 550 (11 May 1984) ''considers attempts to settle any part of Varosha (Famagusta) by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible and calls for the transfer of this area to the administration of the United Nations.''

Moreover, an early day motion signed by two British MPs supports the ''Give your town a voice'' petition campaign.

The motion, submitted before the House of Commons and signed by MPs Andrew Dismore and Bob Sprink says the House “supports the Give your town a voice petition campaign initiated by the Mayor of Famagusta, Alexis Galanos, to collect signatures from former residents of the fenced-off part of Famagusta, a military zone behind barbed wire for nearly 33 years”.

It also expresses the belief that “Turkey is using Famagusta/Varosha as a bargaining chip rather than supporting initiatives such as the Gambari Agreement and is preventing proposals to make Famagusta a workshop of cooperation between the two communities and for economic growth, which would be a clear example of what can be done in Cyprus as a whole”.

Famagusta refugees residing abroad can download and print the signature form at http://www.ammochostos.org.cy/, or go to the chanceries of Cyprus embassies.

The Embassy of Cyprus in Washington, DC, is located at 2211 R Street NW and is open from 9am-5pm, Monday through Friday.

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