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Greece welcomes crossings in Cyprus
2003-04-24 11:15:53

by Nicos Bellos-- Brussels, Apr 24 (CNA) -- Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou has welcomed the easing of restrictions on free movement between Cyprus' northern Turkish-occupied areas and the southern government- controlled part of the island.

''Something very important happened on Wednesday. Thousands of Cypriot citizens crossed from one to the other side. We welcome this, we hail contacts between people,'' he said.

He expressed the view that this development is the result of a decision by the European Union to accept the Republic of Cyprus in its ranks as a full member.|

He said it is obvious that there are practical problems but this development, as a first reaction, shows what the European Union can achieve.

''The EU can knock the walls of division and bring people closer together, this is a day of celebration,'' the minister said.

His comments come at the end of a day, Wednesday, which saw about 5,000 Cypriots, from both sides of the divide, cross from the northern Turkish-occupied areas into the southern government- controlled part of the island and vice versa.

The crossings took place after an announcement by the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime that it would ease restrictions on the free movement.

CNA NB/MM/GP/2003
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
24/04/2003

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