Cyprus Mail – property remarks provoke state ire

An article worth reading from the Cyprus Mail 29/6/2011

THE FIRST ministerial visit from the current UK government ended on a sticky note yesterday after Europe Minister David Lidington made an “unfortunate” comment comparing property problems which exist north and south of the island, prompting a public rebuke from the Cyprus foreign ministry.

After meeting President Demetris Christofias on Monday, Lidington yesterday met Foreign Minister Marcos Kyprianou, DISY opposition leader Nicos Anastassiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu.

The early morning joint press conference between Kyprianou and Lidington offered no surprises, keeping relations between Britain and its former colony on a firm footing.

However, during a separate press conference later in the day, Lidington was asked to comment on the fact that many British citizens buy Greek Cypriot properties in the occupied north and are then issued with illegal title deeds.

The Europe Minister responded: “The problem about title to a property is by no means one confined to the north of the island. There are issues to do with title and possession that apply to some British expatriates living south of the island as well.”

When quizzed further on the issue, he said: “This is not something that is a problem for the north of the island only. I have letters from (British) MPs about the property issue in the south of Cyprus too.”

He added: “I am concerned to make sure as a British minister that the concerns of British citizens expressed to me by their members of parliament are understood by my colleagues here in Cyprus.”’

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