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

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Acting Government Spokesman Titos Christophides has expressed the government`s satisfaction over the fact that Turkish Cypriot were able to cross over into Kokkina on Friday through the Limnitis area, without any problems.

    Speaking to CNA, Christophides said the citizens of Kato Pyrgos village displayed discipline and a responsible spirit, and demonstrated peacefully in favour of opening the Limnitis crossing point and reaching a solution of the Cyprus problem so that all Cypriots would be able to move freely.

    Asked if he believed the Turkish side would be giving an answer soon to the request of Kato Pyrgos citizens to travel to the Turkish occupied town of Morphou on September 2 on a pilgrimage to Saint Mamas, Christophides said ``no one can say.``

    Bishop of Kykkos and Tillyria Nikiforos, who participated in the peaceful demonstration, said the aim was not the pilgrimage itself but the opening of all crossing points.

    Kato Pyrgos community leader Costas Michaelides said "our struggle will continue for the opening of all crossing points."

    General Secretary and MP of the Movement of Environmentalists and Ecologists George Perdikis, who attended the demonstration, said "the political leadership must dynamically move towards the opening of all crossing points."

    Andreas Karos, a member of the committee for the opening of the Limnitis crossing point told CNA he was optimistic that the Turkish Cypriot side would respond positively to the request for the pilgrimage.

    He added that last year the Turkish Cypriot side turned down a similar request, saying it was too late and noted that this year the request was put forward in time.

    About 300 inhabitants of Kato Pyrgos gathered in the village square and staged a silent demonstration.

    A total of 58 buses with Turkish Cypriots passed through Limnitis in three groups. The event at Kokkina was attended by Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, who arrived by helicopter.

    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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