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Cyprus Government Concerned with Destruction of Cultural Heritage in Occupied Areas
2009-03-23 12:28:14

Nicosia, Mar 19 - Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou has said that the government is concerned with the destruction of Cyprus’ cultural heritage in the Turkish occupied areas of the country.

The Spokesman was replying to a question as to whether the Republic of Cyprus would ask Holland to return to Cyprus four icons, of great archaeological value, stolen from the Church of Antifonitis in occupied Kyrenia and now found in private collections in Holland.

“What matters is the protection of our cultural heritage which the Turkish occupation force destroys. This concerns us deeply and leads us to take action,” the Spokesman said.

He added that there is no better way to protect our cultural heritage than the solution of the Cyprus problem and the termination of the Turkish occupation, “so that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots can work together towards that direction.”

Mr. Stephanou referred to a decision to set up a bi-communal committee on cultural heritage, saying that the committee was the result of work done by the technical committees, which were set up to prepare the ground for the commencement of direct talks between the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus.

“I believe that this is important because it shows our concern for the protection of our cultural heritage, which is our history, which we have to preserve,” he added.

The Spokesman referred journalists to Cypriot President’s speech at the inauguration ceremony of a Cypriot collection at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, which took place Wednesday in Athens.

Mr. Stephanou recalled that the President of Cyprus had said that “our cultural heritage does not belong only to the Greeks in Cyprus but is a heritage for all the people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Armenians, Latins and is part of the world cultural heritage.”

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