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Cyprus’ Agriculture Ministry Says Monastery Can’t Build On Nature Land

NICOSIA- The Kykkos Monastery won’t be allowed to build on land designated as a nature park and part of the European long-distance E4 path, Cyprus’ Agriculture Ministry said, refuting a report from Solidarity Movement

The nationalist party said the ministry was doing nothing to stop what the group claimed were plans for the monastery to make a move on the land, the Cyprus Mail reported.

Solidarity alleged that monastery officials arbitrarily imposed a detour around the Diarizos nature trail located in Paphos forest, “and excavated and erected premises and houses, ignoring reservations of the competent government departments, such as the Game and Fauna Service, the Environment Department, the Water Development Department, the Paphos district officer and the town planning service”.

The party also claimed the monastery is also laying asphalt on part of the path which is included in the Natura 2000 European network in violation of European Union law.

“All of the above are taking place with the tolerance of the Agriculture Ministry which has known of the matter from the first moment,” the party said, adding it had sent a letter of complaint that was ignored.

“Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for private individuals, even state services to interfere with disrespect to the environment, altering it and showing contempt even to European Directives,” the party said.

Interventions to the area in question, it said, pose risks of water contamination and spreading disease, and also increase the possibility of fires.

The Diarizos valley and the E4 path, the party said, “are unique landscapes of Cypriot nature, they host medieval bridges, and for decades Cypriot flora and fauna have been developing naturally”. Another unique feature is that water runs in the Diarizos river year-round, it said, the paper wrote.

The ministry said it won’t tolerate building on the land and that it had answered five letters sent by the party to its departments concerning “the construction of a building on monastic land on the edge of Paphos forest”.

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