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‘Stop Israeli investments in north’ says Christodoulides

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Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides has asked the Israeli government to intervene to halt investments made by businessmen in the Turkish occupied north, during his official visit to the country.

The President was in Jerusalem on Thursday, where he met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose help he requested to put an end to Israeli investments in the north of the island, where displaced Greek Cypriots own land and property.

Christodoulides’ request comes amid reports that Turkish developers are engaged in several construction projects in the occupied northern part of Famagusta, backed by Israeli money.

Reportedly, Trikomo is the centre of development, with a number of touristic projects underway.

Cypriot officials have often cited a list of properties in the north, where hotels have been built on land originally owned by Greek Cypriots.

CNA reported that Netanyahu gave a “positive response” to Christodoulides in terms of actions that could prevent such activities, without going into details.

As reported by the Cyprus News Agency, quoting diplomatic sources, Christodoulides also raised the subject of Israeli tourists, who have been flying to the island and staying in hotels in the breakaway north, which is not recognised by any country except Turkey.

Reportedly, Christodoulides told Netanyahu that tourists from Israel were spending time and money at hotels built on Greek Cypriot properties.

Travel advice

In the past, the Israeli government issued statements advising their citizens to follow official travel advice from the Republic of Cyprus.

In one instance in early 2019, a group of Israeli tourists were denied entry to the island by Larnaca airport officials, after they informed authorities that they had plans to stay at hotels in Kyrenia.

As reported at the time, airport customs officers in the Republic of Cyprus had received policy guidance for denying entry from the Foreign Ministry, at the time headed by Christodoulides.

Christodoulides and Netanyahu also discussed ties between the two countries, including resolving the revenue sharing dispute between Cyprus and Israel regarding the Aphrodite natural gas field in the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the neighbouring Yishai field, which is claimed by Israel.

The Cypriot and Israeli leaders also committed to accelerating negotiations on a double taxation avoidance agreement.

Strengthening trade and investment relations and tourism issues were also on the agenda.

Moreover, the leaders reaffirmed the importance of tripartite cooperation between Cyprus, Israel and Greece, and agreed to hold a summit in Nicosia next autumn.