The Foreign Residents in the TRNC (TFR)

TFR Board Members at the Reception

for the German Foreign Minister

By Ralph Kratzer

TFR-LogoSince the TFR had invited the German Ambassador in Cyprus, H.E. Mr. Nikolai von Schoepff, to give a lecture to members of the association, which in fact took place in summer of this year, we have had close contact to the embassy in Nicosia and the Ambassador personally.

So it came about that Mr. von Schoepff and his wife, Mrs. Rita Lansley, were delighted about an invitation to our authentic Bavarian Oktoberfest at the beginning of last month, and in return, the embassy invited TFR-members to the official reception on the occasion of the Day of German Unity.

(Note: You can easily navigate to the above mentioned events by clicking the bold underlined links)

IMG_20151117_192350A special honour was then given to the German board members of our association last week. The Chairman Heinz Nauroth, the Treasurer Horst Gutowski and his wife Monika, and I as the Secretary, were invited to a reception in Nicosia during the visit of German Foreign Minister Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier to Cyprus.

About one hundred high-ranking representatives from politics and economy in Cyprus, leaders of both religious communities and other public figures from both sides of the divided island, met last Tuesday in the Chateau Status in the UN buffer zone in order to do honour to the visit of the well-known German polititian.

IMG_20151117_192456After the speech of Dr. Steinmeier – in which he particularly appreciated the progress made by the two governments in North and South Cyprus in the reconciliation process after more than 40 years of separation – the highly official part of the reception quickly ended, and the Minister from Germany mingled among the invited guests and held animated conversations.

TFR Chairman Heinz Nauroth took the opportunity to introduce himself inter alia to Mr. Steinmeier and to the President of South Cyprus, Mr. Anastasiades, and exchanged thoughts with both.

I personally had the pleasure to have a few words with the former President of Northern Cyprus, Mr. Talat, and then joined with our treasurer Horst Gutowski who had, together with his wife, an obviously enjoyable conversation with officers of the German UNIFIL contingent. For explanation, the German Navy docks their warships in the Cypriot port of Limassol and their main task, as part of the UN deployment in the Eastern Mediterranean, is to protect the sea lanes off the coast of Lebanon against gun smugglers and to train the Lebanese Navy.

IMG_20151117_195717To my surprise, a dignitary of the Greek Orthodox Church joined our table and introduced himself as Metropolitan (Bishop) Chrysostomos of Kyrenia. He was delighted to make conversation with us in German, because he had spent a few years studying in Vienna, and took the opportunity to brush up his language skills. As Kyrenia is in the Turkish (Muslim) part of Cyprus since 1974, of course I asked him the question, how often he had visited the beautiful seaport on the northern coast. He confessed, despite his title, never having been in the northern part of the island yet and regretted this fact.

The evening passed quicklier than expected and the German Foreign Minister had, accompanied by the Ambassador, already made his way to the airport to return to Berlin.

IMG_20151117_212345Suddenly we were the last guests. We funnily attributed it to the presumption this would be just typical for the board members of the TFR…….

But to our pleasure, we recognized that the wife of the Ambassador, Mrs. Rita Lansley, was also still on site. With a last drink we had an interesting chat with her, in which it turned out that not only her husband, but she as well can look back on a long career in the foreign service of the German Government and, accordingly, had been to a lot of different places around the world. She assured us once more how much they enjoyed their visit to our club´s Oktoberfest at the beginning of last month and promised to keep in regular contact with the TFR.

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