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Crossing of divide continues as National Council to convene Tuesday
2003-04-29 12:13:49

Nicosia, Apr 28 (CNA) –Nearly 15 thousand Greek Cypriots have crossed to the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus early Easter Monday and nearly 800 Turkish Cypriots are visiting the southern government-controlled part of the island on the sixth day since the easing of restrictions on the free movement of Cypriots, imposed by the Turkish occupation regime.

As the flow to and from the free areas continues, the National Council, the top advisory body to the President on the handling of the Cyprus problem, will meet on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the situation and the measures which the government will announce to support Turkish Cypriots.

From early morning long traffic jams stretched for 13 kilometres at the Pergamos checkpoint near the Dhekelia British Bases in southeastern Cyprus while the queue to the Ledra Palace checkpoint had reached Freedom (Eleftheria) Square in central Nicosia.

Police announced that a total of 14,048 Greek Cypriots had crossed into the occupied areas by 1300 local time (1000 GMT), 7,167 of them through the Ledra Palace checkpoint, 4,800 through the Pergamos checkpoint and 2,081 through Strovilia.

A total of 772 Turkish Cypriots had crossed into the government-controlled areas of the Republic of Cyprus, 662 of them through the Ledra Palace checkpoint, 107 through Pergamos and three through Strovilia.

Yesterday, Easter Sunday, 9,158 Turkish Cypriots crossed to the free areas and 22,948 Greek Cypriots visited the occupied areas.

Meanwhile, Government Spokesman Kypros Chrisostomides said Cyprus’ European path and the international situation led Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to announce the easing of restrictions on free movement of Cypriots.

Speaking from the western coastal town of Paphos, Chrisostomides criticized the occupation regime for insisting on asking Greek Cypriots to show their passports as they cross into the occupied areas.

He also said the partial lifting of restrictions on free movement, although is a very important development, it does not constitute a Cyprus settlement.

Meanwhile, House President Demetris Christofias, speaking before departing to Brussels to attend the 15th meeting of the European Parliament President with the presidents of parliament of the countries participating in the enlargement process, said the government is expected to announce soon the package of measures for the Turkish Cypriots.

He said that once the government announces them, it would be ready to implement them too.

Christofias also said the National Council meeting tomorrow will examine the situation, in view of the announcement of the measures.|

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of the island’s territory.


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