Friday, March 09, 2007

Movement in Cyprus stalemate?

An interesting development this week in the 33-year-old stalemate over the division of Cyprus.

After decades of failure on the part of the United States, the United Nations and the European Community to broker a solution, it appears the Cypriots themselves are taking the lead.

The Greek Cypriot government (the legitimate government on the occupied island) has ordered the removal of part of the so-called "Green Line" that has separated Greek Cypriots from the occupying Turkish army in the north.

The only just solution for the reunification of Cyprus is the immediate removal of 35,000 occupation troops from Turkey.

Keep in mind that Turkey is the recipient of billions of dollars in U.S. aid, but has violated U.S. law by using its military to occupy a neighboring country. There can be no peaceful resolution in Cyprus until the aggressor nation of Turkey removes its troops from the island.

Here's an article from

Cyprus starts demolition of dividing wall

The Greek Cypriot government started to demolish a wall within the old part of the capital Nicosia that separates it from the Turkish side just before midnight on Thursday, with the work expected to be concluded before dawn on Friday.

But government officials said that the crossing of people to the occupied northern part of the town would not begin until the Turkish armed forces withdrew from the area in accordance with United Nations efforts to resolve the island’s 33-year division.

Five other check points have opened since April 2003 allowing Greek and Turkish Cypriots to visit the other side for the first time in three decades since the Turkish invasion.

"Our main concern is security in the area and we are hopeful that the other side will come to negotiations on the issue," government spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardis was quoted by Cyprus state television CyBC as saying.

The wall at the bottom of the commercial Ledra Street, that housed a National Guard post and a sign declaring this was "the last divided capital of Europe," should have been demolished 15 months ago when the Turkish Cypriots also started work on their side.

The Turkish Army, that maintains a 35,000-strong garrison in the north, wanted to maintain its control over the "Green Line" that runs through the medieaval Venetian town and built a pedestrian bridge on its side of Ledra Street in order to allow its military patrols to pass under it.

Construction of the controversial bridge forced all work on the Greek Cypriot side to be halted including the clearing of the 50 metres of no-man's-land dividing the two sides and patrolled by the U.N.

"We are showing good will as we have often been accused of not bringing our part of the wall down," added Pashiardis.

The work is part of fresh efforts to start trade between the two sides within Germany's EU presidency initiative and coincides with president Tassos Papadopoulos' visit to Brussels for the EU summit.

Papadopoulos said in statements upon arrival in Brussels that "we had planned this for a few days and decided to go ahead unilaterally, despite the Turkish armed forces refusing to cooperate."

"The issue is not bringing down a wall in 24 hours. It is security and the withdrawal of the occupation troops."

No comments: