Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political human rights organisation campaigning for a reunited Cyprus.
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04 April 2008
Ledra street opening only a first step in Turkish withdrawal, according to Lobby
Although Lobby for Cyprus welcomes the opening of Ledra Street in divided Nicosia we are still waiting for Turkey to deliver on the opening of the checkpoint at Limnitis, which was the rest of the agreement between the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish regime in the occupied north.

London – “Although Lobby for Cyprus welcomes the opening of Ledra Street in divided Nicosia,” said Lobby spokesman Theo Theodorou, “we are still waiting for Turkey to deliver on the opening of the checkpoint at Limnitis, which was the rest of the agreement between the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish regime in the occupied north.”

Theodorou explained that the two openings were linked in the talks between the two sides and that, for the Republic’s government controlled areas, Limnitis is the more important. “Opening of Ledra Street means that the residents of the occupied north have merely to cross from one side of the street to the excellent shops in the free areas,” he said, 
“but from the Republic’s viewpoint, practically speaking, it doesn’t achieve a great deal. No one wants to go to 
the Turkish occupied sector of Nicosia.”

However, Theodorou said, “opening Limnitis would cut almost two hours travel time for those wishing to travel to or from Nicosia. This is another concession by the Cyprus government which has not received a reciprocal act by Turkey.”

Ledra Street was opened following the clean bill of health from the United Nations Peacekeeping Forces in Cyprus (UNFICYP) after its mine sweeping team checked for mines and other unexploded ordnance.

“The fact that the city’s main commercial street had to be checked for Turkish mines says much about the occupying force,” Theodorou commented.

Cyprus has been divided since the invasion of the island by the Turks, in 1974, and it is estimated that some 17,000 mines have been planted by the occupying army. “Nicosia remains the only divided capital in Europe,” Theodorou commented, “and unless this opening is the first step in the Turkish withdrawal from the island, it is a virtually 
meaningless gesture.”

According to Nicosia mayor Eleni Mavrou, after the street was checked for mines, a technical team, consisting of architects, civil engineers and mechanical engineers, checked the buildings in the buffer zone to make certain that they too, were safe. Mayor Mavrou said that after checking the buildings, the road will be improved, and additional lighting will be installed in the street.

According to the mayor, Turkish occupying troops have withdrawn from the area.

“Thousands of residents of the occupied north already come into the Republic every day, where they hold jobs and enjoy other benefits,” Theodorou said,” and this will make it even easier for them. And, it will give the lie to Turkish claims that the people in the north are isolated.”

Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political organisation that seeks the reunification of Cyprus through the removal of the 43,000 man Turkish army, the repatriation of the 160,000 Anatolian colonists imported into the north in order to change its demographics, against all international laws, and the return of all refugees to their home.