10 March, 2007
Cypriot Government Spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardis said on Friday that with the demolition of the wall in Ledra Street it is now up to the Turkish side and the occupation army to cooperate for the opening of a crossing point.
He called on the Turkish Cypriot leadership to cooperate in the direction of solving the problems impeding its opening.
Pashiardis pointed out that the demolition of the wall did not mean the lifting of all obstacles for the opening of the crossing point, at Ledra street.
Speaking during a visit to the site, Pashiardis said ''our side took an additional step yesterday (Thursday) and made yet another demonstration of its good will,'' and expressed hope that the Turkish Cypriot side ''will respond to the reasonable and constructive proposals we have submitted and will cooperate for the opening of Ledra Street, if it really wishes and is interested in opening the specific crossing point.''
''What is important now is to solve all the substantive problems, which are the investigation and lifting of possible minefields, the fixing of houses in the street and mainly the withdrawal of the Turkish occupation army from the specific crossing point,'' he added.
The UN Secretary General's Special Representative in Cyprus and Chief of Mission of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) Michael Moller has warmly welcomed the removal of the wall in Ledra Street in Nicosia, saying that it represents a very welcome and positive contribution to efforts to create a positive atmosphere in which the search for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem can flourish.
In a statement, Moller assures that UNFICYP is assisting both sides with the practical arrangements to move this process forward and to help implement the necessary measures to expedite progress.
Moller ''warmly welcomes last night's removal of the wall at the southern end of the buffer zone dividing Ledra Street,'' noting that ''the overnight demolition of the Ledra Street wall in Nicosia's old town represents a very welcome and positive contribution of great symbolic significance both to efforts to open a crossing point at this historic location and to create a positive atmosphere in which the search for a comprehensive settlement can flourish.''
''UNFICYP is assisting both sides with the practical arrangements to move this much anticipated process forward and to help implement the necessary measures to expedite progress,'' he adds.
The UN official notes that ''once the sides are in agreement as to the way ahead, UNFICYP will immediately move, with EU-funded support from UNDP's Partnership for the Future, to ensure the area's overall safety in order to facilitate the opening of the crossing as a matter of priority.''
''This will include measures to shore up dangerous buildings in the immediate buffer zone area, plus a sweep of the area to ensure that it is free of unexploded ordinance,'' he concludes.
Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn welcomed the demo-lishing of the National Guard wall in Ledra Street in Nicosia, and hoped that the opening of the crossing point would be a major symbolic step forward in bringing both communities in Nicosia closer together.
In a written statement from Brussels, Rehn said, "I welcome that the wall at Ledra Street in Nicosia has been pulled down last night following a unilateral decision of the government of the Republic of Cyprus."
He urged "all parties concerned to use the momentum created by this courageous decision and by the earlier removal of the footbridge by the Turkish Cypriot community to rapidly take the next necessary steps to effectively open the Ledra Street crossing in the centre of Nicosia."
The Enlargement Commissioner further said the "long-waited opening of the crossing point would be a major symbolic step forward in bringing both communities in Nicosia closer together."
''At the same time,'' he said, "it would also encourage the necessary efforts aiming at a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem under the UN auspices."
Rehn reminded that "the European Commission has earmarked more than 100,000 euros to finance any necessary stabilisation works at the
crossing point which could start immediately."
The State Department has welcomed the demolition of the wall at the end of Ledra Street and said it is an important symbolic step towards re-uniting Europe's last divided capital.
In a statement, the State Department Spokesman said "we welcome this positive gesture by the Republic of the Govern-ment of Cyprus leadership, as we welcomed the Turkish Cypriots' demolition of the Ledra footbridge in January".
The State Department said this "is an important symbolic step towards re-uniting Europe's last divided capital" and urged "both communities to work with the UN" to open a Ledra Street crossing and to implement the July 8 ''Set of Principles'' which call for the creation of bicommunal working groups and technical committees to begin a process leading to the resumption of comprehensive settlement negotiations.
Both community leaders, and the UN Security Council in Resolution 1728, endorsed the ''Set of Principles.''
The Republic of Cyprus entered the EU in May 2004. Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
On 8 July 2006, Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat met in the presence of senior UN official Imbrahim Gambari and agreed to begin a process of bicommunal discussions on issues that affect the day-to-day life of the people and those that concern substantive issues.
Source: Athens News Agency