04 April, 2008
Greece hailed on Thursday the opening, earlier in the day, of a crossing point to and from the Turkish-occupied areas in historic Ledra Street, in the heart of Cyprus' capital Nicosia.
"We hail the opening of the Ledra Street. It is an important, symbolic step of rapprochement of the two communities," Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis told reporters here, on the sidelines of a NATO Summit.
"We hope that the opening of other passages will follow. We also hope that today's development will contribute to the reinforcement of confidence on the island and to the immediate implementation of what was agreed between (Cyprus) President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat on March 21, so as to have a substantial progress for the start of a full negotiating process. For a just, viable and functional solution," Bakoyannis added.
The Ledra Street checkpoint opened on Thursday after being closed for nearly 45 years.
The opening of Ledra Street was agreed by Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, during their meeting on March 21.
The two leaders also decided to ask their respective advisers to meet this coming week in order to set up a number of working groups and technical committees, establish their agendas, and to do so in the most expeditious way possible and to meet in three months time to review the work of the working groups and technical committees, and using their results, to start full-fledged negotiations under the auspices of the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
The main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) hailed the opening, on Thursday, of a crossing point to and from the Turkish-occupied areas in historic Ledra Street, in the heart of the capital Nicosia.
"We salute the opening of Ledra Street, it is a move with great symbolic importance, because it confirms our conviction that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots want and can share a common future within the European family," party spokesman George Papaconstantinou told reporters.
"It also confirms the new possibilities for a Cyprus solution, under the Presidency of Mr. (Demetris) Christofias, always within the framework of UN resolutions and of European Union conditions, with full respect to the European acquis communautaire, in the interest of both communities in Cyprus," the spokesman concluded.
Source: Athens News Agency