Greek Cypriot Head of the Bicommunal Technical Committee on Crossings Sotos Zackheos said here today that there are positive developments regarding the opening of Lefka-Aplici and Deryneia crossing points, noting at the same time that once these crossings open, discussion on other crossings such as the Pyroi crossing can take place.
The opening of Pyroi crossing point, he explained, has been on the table since the Technical Committee was established, some time ago.
In a statement to CNA, Zackheos said that there was some kind of delay in solving some issues, especially matters relating to road works within the UN-controlled buffer zone, which separates the island’s northern Turkish occupied areas from the southern government controlled part of the country.
He also said that following consultations, the Turkish Cypriot side has agreed to proceed as it has done in previous cases, meaning that the road works will be funded by the European Union and will be allocated through UNDP which will be responsible to launch tenders for the road works in the buffer zone.
Zackheos noted that as in previous cases the road works in the buffer zone will be constructed by a bicommunal joint venture, namely construction companies from both communities.
After this positive development, the road works in the case of Deryneia should be completed one to two months after the tender is decided, and in the case of Lefka-Aplici 3-4 months.
Asked whether the Technical Committee is discussing the possibility of opening more crossing points, Sotos Zackheos recalled that Greek Cypriot side from the very beginning of this process had set on the table the opening of other crossing points, such the Pyroi crossing point and a passage through Kokkina enclave that would facilitate traffick from Pyrgos to Polis and Pafos, especially when a medical emergency arises and an ambulance needs to go through Kokkina.
Once the opening of Lefka and Deryneia crossing points is completed, he explained to CAN, the Committee will discuss the opening of more crossings.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Cyprus President Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci have been engaged in UN-led talks since May 2015 with a view to reunite the island under a federal roof.
Following the announcement by the Leaders on 28 May 2015, the Technical Committee on Crossings immediately began work on the opening of the two crossings.