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25 May, 2022
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Greek foreign minister dismayed by Greece’s 'vilification' in Cyprus court

Greek FM has harsh words for Cypriot attorney during cross-examination in Kykkos land dispute case


Greek Foreign Minister Nicos Kotzias told the Nicosia District Court on Monday that it is a shame that his country and the Church cannot solve amicably a legal dispute over a land transfer.

Kotzias, who is on an official visit to Cyprus, is also representing the Greek state in a trial where he is basically objecting to a land transfer without receiving payment in advance from the Church of Cyprus. He also told the judge that this dispute does not fall under either Greek or Cypriot justice but it is an international dispute, he reportedly said in court.

According to Kathimerini, the foreign minister appeared to be irritated during his cross-examination on Monday, showing his displeasure towards the attorney representing the Kykkos Holy Monastery.

Kytkkos and the Greek government are locked in a legal dispute over a plot of land at Metochi Kykkou in Nicosia, which had been sold to the Greek government in 1999 for €500,000.

Kotzias told the judge that this dispute does not fall under either Greek or Cypriot justice but it is an international dispute, he reportedly said in court

But when Greece was drafting a list of state-owned land for sale and included the plot in Nicosia, the Monastery protested saying it had sold the land only on the condition it would be used for the Greek Embassy.

But the contract reportedly also had a non-written part calling for the embassy to be built within 10 years.

According to local media, the buyer and the seller had a verbal agreement that the Embassy of Greece would be built at the site of the plot within 10 years. Bishop Nikiforos was also quoted as saying “he wanted to be able to see the Greek flag flying just across from Metochi.”

This did not materialize and soon the Greek Ambassador in Nicosia got wind of another sale in the works, where the land was being readied to be sold to a company of Russian interests.

In order for the sale to go forward, the Greek government would be owed compensation to the tune of €2.3 million, according to the sales agreement between Metochi and Greece.

Archbishop Chrysostomos had sent a letter to the Greek side saying the monastery had the money to pay and it was simply asking for the Land Registry department to officiate the transfer before the transaction.

But Foreign Minister Nicos Kotzias and the Greek government were asking for the payment to go through before they can agree to the title deed transfer.

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