The Greek Cypriot administration has been insisting on "preconditions" for opening a crossing point in the middle of Ledra Street in Nicosia (Lefkoşa) as agreed at a key meeting between Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat on March 21.
The crossing point at the heart of Ledra Street, known as Lokmacı Gate in Turkish Cyprus, has widely been expected to be opened this week. UN de-mining experts swept the area for discarded explosives last week, following which the Turkish and Greek Cypriot municipalities on both sides of the crossing point began preparatory work for its opening.
"The Greek Cypriot thesis is that the Ledra crossing can be opened only after preconditions on which the two sides agreed [have been met]," Greek Cypriot government spokesperson Stefanos Stefanou was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency on Monday afternoon.
When asked to elaborate on those preconditions, Stefanou said: "The first one is that there should be no [Turkish] military presence; the second one is to have a 24-hour service as is the case at other crossings; and the third is to have full UN authority in the buffer zone."
Over the weekend, wrapping up an official visit to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC), Chief of Turkish General Staff Gen. Yaşar Büyükanıt emphasized that the reopening of the pedestrian street, blocked off for decades, would not mean a withdrawal of Turkish soldiers stationed inside a military zone near the crossing. "We will, under no condition, budge even a meter from the area we are responsible for," he said.
As of yesterday, UN Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe had talks with political party leaders in the KKTC as part of a three-day visit to the island to assess the mood regarding a new push for reunification. Today, after a final day of talks with Greek and Turkish officials and taking the pulse for the resumption of full-fledged negotiations, Pascoe is scheduled to hold a press conference.
Last Mod: 02 Nisan 2008, 14:58