reading time: 4 min.

Andreas Simeu: Bi-Communal Property Technical Committee Should Be Established

Andreas Simeu: Bi-Communal Property Technical Committee Should Be Established

Andreas D. Simeu, who chaired and was a member of the Greek Cypriot working group on property in the Cyprus negotiations, emphasized the necessity of establishing a "bi-communal committee for property" under the framework of Confidence Building Measures, stating that "this could be in the interest of both communities."

Publish Date: 01/04/24 13:43
reading time: 4 min.
Andreas Simeu: Bi-Communal Property Technical Committee Should Be Established
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Simeu, in an interview with Politis, stated that the passage of time has negatively impacted efforts for a solution, highlighting that the situation regarding property, which is the most complex issue among the topics discussed, has worsened, with some vested interests in land becoming permanent.

Stating that the negative effects are mostly felt by the Greek Cypriot side, Simeu pointed out that the strengthening of user status weakens the Greek Cypriot side's arguments such as "the property owner should have the first say" and "priority should be given to the option of return."

Simeu also outlined some powers that the bi-communal technical committee proposed under the CBMs framework for property would have:

  1. Providing technical support to the Turkish Cypriot side for the transfer of data from the land registry, similar to what has been done in the Greek Cypriot side, to create harmonious electronic systems on both sides.

  2. Initiating gradual data exchange efforts starting from areas where there are no political complications, such as the partial registries in the Famagusta region (under the Greek Cypriot side), mixed-use properties in the buffer zone, and areas within the boundaries of the TRNC, such as Pile, which are mutually beneficial for both communities.

  3. Disseminating information related to property ownership, land use, etc., across the entire sovereign area.

  4. Providing information to property owners on remedies (return, compensation, exchange) before and independently of the solution to the Cyprus problem.

  5. Evaluating the information and data obtained in case negotiations resume.

Believing that his proposal could be accepted by both sides as it aims for mutual benefit, Simeu mentioned that he presented his proposal to the President of the Republic of Cyprus, the Greek Cypriot negotiator, the Chairman of the House Committee on Refugees, and other stakeholders. Simeu also highlighted the importance of considering the rights of Turkish Cypriot property owners and their entitlement to seek remedies alongside any potential solution.

Simeu further noted that data sharing on property had been done between the two sides in the past. He mentioned that in 1963, after the events of intercommunal strife, the Greek Cypriot Land Registry was found in the Turkish Cypriot-controlled area. After the unrest, most of the official records were returned to the Greek Cypriot registry on the day of a sale transaction among Greek Cypriots, then given to the Turkish Cypriot authorities, as per an agreement reached at the time.

"If such an agreement could be achieved back then, why not do it now when the efforts for a solution are warming up," Simeu questioned, recalling that during his tenure as the chairman of the Greek Cypriot property working group in 2012, various data exchanges on properties and users were possible between the two sides, but they could not continue due to the breakdown of negotiations.

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