New crossing point opens in UNbacked efforts to reunify Cyprus

“There is hope that the two leaders now can bring this country together and reunite Cyprus,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer said referring to the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders whose talks he has been facilitating in an effort to reunify the island, where a UN peacekeeping mission has been in place since inter-communal violence erupted in 1964.“That is possible and the success of this project simply demonstrates that point and I think demonstrates it very clearly. It will require a lot of political will, a lot of political courage and the leaders can rest assured that they will get great support, not just from us in the United Nations, but from the broader international community.”The new Limnitis/Yesilirmak crossing in the northwest of the island required upgrading some six kilometres of road and is the seventh such link facilitating movement between the two communities. In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban voiced the hope that it will help strengthen “the climate of trust and goodwill necessary for the UN-supported negotiations to achieve a mutually-acceptable and lasting settlement as soon as possible.” For the past two years Mr. Downer has been facilitating the talks between Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias and his Turkish Cypriot counterparts, first Mehmet Ali Talat and after April elections Dervis Eroglu, in a bid to establish a Federal Government with a single international personality, along with a Turkish Cypriot Constituent State and a Greek Cypriot Constituent State, which would be of equal status.Other issues include the economy, European Union (EU) matters and property.Mr. Downer did not underestimate the difficulties in the process and paid tribute to the leaders and the two communities for completing the new project. “I can remember not all that long ago some people saying that this project would never be complete,” he said. “Others said it was a test of whether it would be possible to reunite Cyprus. “That if it wasn’t even possible to build this crossing and to open it, then it wouldn’t be possible to reunite Cyprus – probably a fair point.“But it was of course the pessimists that were wrong and the determination of the two sides that made this possible. And it does demonstrate a point that none of this work here in Cyprus, bringing the two sides together, is easy work.” 14 October 2010A new road crossing between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities was opened today, a step a senior United Nations official said proved the pessimists wrong and raised hopes that the Mediterranean island can be reunited. read more