Cypriots demand more crossing points

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Greek and Turkish Cypriots united their voices for the opening of new crossing points along the divided island to facilitate people-to-people contact.

About 110 parties, trade unions and NGOs from both communities organised an “Opening new roads – Reuniting Cyprus” event on Saturday.

It included a march starting from Ledras Street in old Nicosia and culminating at the House of Cooperation in the buffer zone, where pedestrian crossing points between the two sides operate.

The event marked the 20th anniversary since the first crossing opened to enable people movement across the divide.

Demonstrators delivered a statement resolution to the UN.

The resolution points out that the current crossing points cannot meet the needs of people who travel, but also that formalities and unnecessary procedures create further barriers to crossings and that there is a need for simplified and efficient procedures to reduce long queues and bureaucracy.

The organisations said there is ever-increasing pressure from the people affected throughout Cyprus to open more crossings and that this need has been recognised by the authorities but without any immediate decisions to address it.

They recall that the UN Security Council, in its most recent decision, urged the sides to reduce the existing barriers to bi-communal communication.

AKEL leader Stefanos Stefanou said his party supports opening more crossing points to facilitate greater contact between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

“Existing problems will be resolved once and for all with the solution of the Cyprus problem, a solution based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality as is defined by the UN.”

Kato Pyrgos Tyllirias Community President Nicos Cleanthous said the Kokkina crossing point must open, something which would resolve the isolation problem the local area faces.

A member of the bi-communal peace initiative “United Cyprus,” Christina Valanidou, said that crossing points should be more accessible to the people and various bureaucratic procedures should be abolished.