INTERIOR Minister Neo?lis Silikiotis said that companies which engage in illegal sale or purchase of Greek Cypriot properties in the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus will not be allowed to operate in the Republic of Cyprus.
The Minister made the comment after a meeting with US Ambassador to Cyprus Ronald Schlicher during which they discussed the wish of US real estate companies to become active in Cyprus.
Schlicher said “some real estate companies, very large American real estate companies are interested in doing business in the Cypriot market” noting the two discussed the “rules, law and regulations that govern these things, and I alerted the minister to some of the concerns that the American companies have”.
Silikiotis said that regarding the activity of foreign real estate companies in Cyprus, “I informed the ambassador that a relevant legislation has been tabled in the House of Representatives which provides for the amendment of the provisions of the existing law, harmonising it with the acquis communautaire”.
So far, he added, permits to work as realtors are given on a personal level, but after the relevant law is amended, companies will be able to operate, provided they comply with certain provisions such as employing people who are registered in the Realtors Registration List and that at least one person in the company speaks Greek.
Silikiotis said it is evident that “companies which engage in the illegal sale or purchase of Greek Cypriot properties in the occupied areas cannot be allowed to operate in the Republic of Cyprus”.
On his part, the American Ambassador said these companies are “interested in being in the Republic of Cyprus. They are interested in partnering with people in the real estate business here”.
To a question if they are aware of the informed on the situation in Cyprus, Schlicher replied “absolutely and of course when we talk to any companies that are interested in doing business in Cyprus, it’s is not only good business it is our duty to let them know of the sort of legal and political legal issues that they might face when they do business in Cyprus”.
The two also examined the progress made on the national action plan in combating trafficking of persons.
Sylikiotis said that the whole issue is an extremely dangerous phenomenon with wider international dimensions and which is also present in Cyprus. He informed the American ambassador on the measures which the Republic of Cyprus is taking to combat it, as well as the action plan, the coordination of which was undertaken by his ministry. A relevant legislation prepared by the Legal Service of the Department will be sent to Non-Governmental Organisations and then will be taken before the Cabinet for approval and subsequently the House of Representatives.
A convention on combating the Trafficking of Persons will also be taken before the House, he added, noting that in the last years the number of permits to employ artistes in Cyprus has significantly decreased. “We are trying to restrict to a minimum, if not completely wipe out, the trafficking of persons in Cyprus”, Sylikiotis added.
Schlicher said that this is a world wide problem and “the US seeks to be the partner in fact of all the countries in the world in combating this international problem. The things that have been done by the government of Cyprus in meeting this national action plan are very laudable, we applaud those things and we look forward to the fulfilment of those things that the government of Cyprus plans to do, has in progress but has not quite fulfilled yet”.
The two also examined the possibility of members of the families belonging to diplomatic missions in both Cyprus and the US to be able to work in the respective countries. Schlicher also said that a bilateral work agreement was examined and hoped the two countries will be in a position to move forward on that.