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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 08-08-06

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias said on Wednesday that the opening of the Limnitis crossing point and the pilgrimage of Pyrgos village inhabitants to Saint Mamas church in the Turkish occupied town of Morphou were two different matters, and any actions against either issue should be avoided.

    He also expressed hope that the Turkish Cypriot side would take measures so that on September 2 the inhabitants of Pyrgos would be able to travel to Morphou for a pilgrimage.

    Speaking at Larnaca Airport before departing for Beijing, President Christofias commented on the decision of the community council of Kato Pyrgos to finally allow Turkish Cypriots to cross over into Kokkina village, noting that the government was responsible for the handling of the Cyprus problem.

    President Christofias pointed out that "the passage of Turkish Cypriots must be peaceful and I hope the request of the pilgrims from Pyrgos area will be accepted so that they can travel to Morphou on September 2 to pray at Saint Mamas, but these issues should not be linked to the opening of the Limnitis crossing point."

    "The opening of Limnitis is something separate for which I personally and the government in general and especially Presidential Commissioner George Iacovou are handling on a daily basis," he said, adding that "we must avoid any moves that may put this effort at risk."

    Asked when the UN would reply to the request to visit Morphou, President Christofias said "we are expecting an answer the soonest possible."

    "I hope that there are no complications," he said and pointed out that "collectedness and restraint" were necessary to move forward.

    For the past 45 years, Greek Cypriot residents in the area of Limnitis have to travel to Paphos, on the western coast, and Limassol, on the south, in order to reach the capital Nicosia. Opening a crossing point at Limnitis would make this journey far shorter. In the recent past, several crossing points to and from the islands northern Turkish occupied areas have opened to facilitate the movement of people.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

    Kokkina, a coastal village in northeast Cyprus, was the centre of intercommunal clashes in 1964, when the Turkish air force bombed Greek Cypriot villages in the area. Kokkina is accessible only through the government-controlled areas of the Republic or by sea. Turkish Cypriots have been visiting Kokkina by land with the consent of the government of Cyprus.

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