Nicosia, May 22, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency
By Kyriacos Kyriacou
Mayors, community leaders and Turkish Cypriots gathered on Friday by the barbed wire in the village of Athienou demanding the opening of a new crossing point at Piroi, that would alleviate the suffering of its inhabitants since the 1974 Turkish invasion.
The road linking Athienou with Piroi a village a few kilometers away from Athienou situated in the Turkish-occupied areas, and the capital Nicosia was blocked by a barrier since 1974 bringing suffering and abandonment to Greek Cypriots living in the village as they are forced to travel twice the distance to reach the capital whereas they could reach Nicosia, in a matter of minutes. The renewed hope for a settlement to the Cyprus problem following the resumption of the UN-led talks prompted the officials of the region to renew their claim.
“We demand opening of the road-barrier at Piroi, from Larnaca to Nicosia through Athienou, Piroi, Yeri, Aglantzia” a resolution adopted by the Committee on rights of free access of the route Athienou – Piroi – Yeri – Aglantzia – Nicosia writes, adding “the closure of this route since 1974 has caused suffering and abandonment of the affected both Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities.”
Expressing support to the effort by the leaders of both sides to find a solution to the reunification of our country and ensuring human rights and fundamental freedoms, which is based on International and European law, the resolution notes that a joint decision towards the opening of the barrier at Piroi “will strengthen and enhance the efforts and give favourable growth prospects of both sides and serve the free and unobstructed access to Nicosia through the route Athienou – Piroi – Yeri – Aglantzia – Nicosia and that will benefit Larnaca, Nicosia and Famagusta districts.”
The Committee President, Mayor of Athienou Demetris Papapetrou said the resolution will be given both to Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and new Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.
Responding to questions, Papapetrou said that in case the road is reopened the inhabitants of Athienou could drive to Nicosia in just 10 minutes, covering a distance of 19 kilometres, whereas they now have to make a 42-kilometre detour to reach Nicosia via the higway.
He added that the opening of the road would facilitate transportation for the wider region which has been abandoned given that it is encircled by Turkish troops. “We hope that the opening of the road will yield prospects for growth which ceased in 1974,” he said adding the crossing point would also help Turkish Cypriots of the region to travel to Larnaca, in the southern coast of the island.
Anastasiades – Akinci to take a stroll in old Nicosia
Meanwhile the two sides continue efforts to reunite the island. President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades will have a meeting, of a social nature, tomorrow Saturday, with the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community Mustafa Akinci, during which they will take a stroll in the old city of Nicosia.
According to a written statement by the Government Spokesman, President Anastasiades will be accompanied by Goverment Spokesman Nikos Christodoulides, Mayor of Nicosia Constantinos Yiorkatzis and Greek Cypriot negotiator at the Cyprus talks Andreas Mavroyiannis.
The two negotiators of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides, Andreas Mavroyiannis and Ozdil Nami, hold a new meeting today, in the framework of the resumed Cyprus talks.
The two negotiators examine the state of affairs so that substantive negotiations can resume, the same sources said. They also prepare a list of Confidence Building Measures of low politics which they will present to the leaders of the two communities, President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci who will decide which ones to implement.