Resolution on the cultural heritage of the areas of the Republic of Cyprus under the occupation of Turkish troops.

The Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (I.A.O.):
Having convened at its 14th annual session in Astana,
Regretting the fact that the occupation of part of the Republic of Cyprus by turkish troops continues since 1974,

Following with concern developments in the Cyprus problem, but also its continuing consequences, because of the lack of will and cooperation on the Turkish side,
Particularly concerned for the fate of the religious and cultural heritage in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus, in the context of a willful neglect and/or destruction by the occupation regime,

Having regard to its previous Resolutions on Cyprus, ever since the I.A.O’s establishment, pertinent Resolutions of the UNO, the European Parliament and other international organizations, as well as relevant court judgments, inter alia in the USA and Germany,

Reminding in particular relevant provisions of the 1972 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of Cultural and Natural Heritage,

Votes as follows:
• Reiterates its concern for the continuing de facto division of the island and requests the immediate withdrawal of Turkish troops and all settlers.
• Expresses its particular concern for the fact that thousands of items of the religious and cultural heritage in the occupied territory of the Republic of Cyprus have been destroyed, have disappeared or have been illegally traded on the international market, due to their willful neglect and/or destruction by the occupation regime, in the framework of its policy of
altering the character of the occupied areas.
• Regrets to affirm that every attempt to save this religious and cultural heritage and/or retrieve the treasures, that are part thereof, is exploited by the illegal occupation regime, aiming at upgrading itself or gaining direct of indirect recognition.
• Underlines that, over and above the fact that the Christian orthodox, religious and cultural treasures and monuments in the occupied part of Cyprus are owned by and belong to the Church of Cyprus, other Christian Churches and the Government of the Republic, this cultural and religious heritage also constitutes part of the European and world heritage and, as such, must be urgently protected and restored.
• Calls upon all countries and international organizations to contribute in every possible way to the efforts of the Republic of Cyprus to save, restore and retrieve its religious and cultural treasures that originate or are situated in its occupied part.
• Calls in particular upon Turkey to show the respect due to this invaluable part of world civilization and to cooperate for its restoration without any olitical expedience.
• Supports the soonest possible achievement of an agreed, just and functional solution to the Cyprus problem, in the form of a bizonal, bicommunal federation, based on pertinent UN Resolutions and the EU acquis communautaire and which will take into account the legitimate interests and concerns of all Cypriots.

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