COVID19: Peace activists demand crossings reopen

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Peace activists demanded on Thursday that Cypriot leaders order the immediate reopening of all crossing points to allow free movement across Cyprus’ divide as lockdown eases.

Bi-communal Peace Initiative-United Cyprus sent a message to Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci urging them to reopen crossing points closed since the coronavirus outbreak in March.

The Peace Initiative said in a statement: “Over the last few months we have repeatedly  underlined  the essence of effective cooperation between the two communities to face up to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic, social and human implications.”

“We are encouraged by the recent consultations taking place between the two Leaders and welcome the agreement to allow people to cross for the purposes of work, studies,  health-related treatment and reuniting of families.

We also welcome the meeting of health experts to appraise the current status of the pandemic on Cyprus. Respecting the experts’ recommendations, we demand the immediate reopening of all checkpoints, taking all necessary precautions.”

Activists said this period can then be utilized to concentrate on restarting the UN-backed negotiation process.

“It is essential that you as leaders of the two communities grasp this opportunity and jointly invite the Secretary-General of the UN to reconvene the negotiating process.”

The last round of negotiations, in July 2017, at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana collapsed in acrimony.