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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 08-08-30

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Cyprus Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephnou said on Saturday that the decision of the illegal regime in Cyprus` Turkish occupied areas not to give permission to Greek Cypriots who live at Kato Pyrgos village to pass through Limnitis crossing point for aorganised pilgrimage at Saint Mamas church is a ``regretful development`` that does not constitute the best development in view of the commencement of direct negotiations on September 3.

    Presidential Commissioner George Iacovou cut short on Friday a scheduled meeting he had with Ozdil Nami, aide to the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat when the UN Secretary General`s Special Representative in Cyprus Taye Brook Zerihoun announced the Turkish Cypriot decision.

    Echoing Iacovou`s statement that the regime`s decision was ``narrow-hearted,`` Stephanou said that the Greek Cypriot side will continue its constructive stance, underlining that ``the Turkish side must at some stage realise that showing good will cannot be a one-way gesture.``

    ``We cannot have steps only from the Greek Cypriot community, at some stage we must have a response from the other community as well,`` he added.

    Replying to Turkish Cypriot leader`s spokesman Hasan Ercakica`s, statement that Limnitis is not a crossing point, Stephanou pointed out the two leaders agreed during their meeting on 21 March that ``the issue of the opening of the Limnitis crossing and other crossings is also on the agenda for the coming meetings of their advisers.``

    ``This is a fact. If we now ay that (Limnitis) is not a crossing point, as the Turkish Cypriot side is saying, essentially this constitutes a withdrawal from the position that we will work for the opening of the Limnitis crossing point,`` the Spokesman said, adding that ``we expect that this decision is implemented and that yes will proceed to the opening of the crossing point.``

    He also wondered whether Limnitis is considered as a crossing point when Turkish Cypriots cross to the government-controlled areas to attend a ceremony in Kokkina but is not considered as a crossing point when Greek Cypriots want to pass to the occupied areas to attend an organised pilgrimage.

    Last July approximately 1,000 Turkish Cypriot crossed through Limnitis on their way to Kokkina, a coastal village in northeast Cyprus, which was the centre of intercommunal clashes in 1964, when Turkish air force planes bombed Greek Cypriot villages in the area. Kokkina is accessible only through the free areas of the Republic or by sea. Turkish Cypriots have been visiting Kokkina by land with the consent of the government of Cyprus.

    ``Of course Limnitis is a crossing point and for this reason we agreed for its opening and this constitutes a priority,`` Stephanou added.

    He also said that President Christofias contacted yesterday evening Morphou Bishop Neofytos, who will head the mass at Ayios Mamas Churdh in the occupied areas scheduled for September 1 and discussed the issue.

    He added that the Greek Cypriot side is concerned whether the pilgrimage should take place, noting however that such issues, in view of the commencement of direct talks, must be addressed comprehensively and on the basis of political criteria.

    Asked whether President Christofias will contact Talat, Stephanou said that he is not in a position to know this, pointing out that the secure hotline, agreed to be established between the two leaders is not yet in place.

    Replying to question on the issue of Pyla, Stephanou said that Pyla has a different status than that of Limnitis.

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

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