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G/C and T/C shop owners demand opening of Ledra Street
2005-01-21 15:15:00

Nicosia, Jan 21 (CNA) The Greek Cypriot side is ready to proceed with the opening of Ledra Street, the capital's renowned commercial street divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion, and is ready to overcome all problems, AKEL General Secretary Demetris Christofias pledged here Friday during a meeting with the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot shop owners associations, POVEK and KTEZO respectively.

Christofias said the real unification and free exchange between persons and products will come only when the Cyprus problem is solved in a way in which the two communities are satisfied and a solution is found that will correspond to the interests of Cypriots and not foreigners.

Invited to comment on the belief that ''you do not break the occupation line by making new cracks in it,'' Christofias wondered whether a solution is feasible by building a wall similar to the one Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon built in the Palestinian territories.

''The walls should come down and cracks make the walls more susceptible to coming down,'' he added.

Christofias said efforts are underway to open Ledra Street and expressed hope that the crossing points of Zodia, Ledra and Dherynia will open soon, making it more possible to solve the problems and existing differences between the two sides.

He said that in the event Ledra Street cannot open directly, some side road could open up.

AKEL's General Secretary welcomed the interest of the two organisations to boost the Nicosia market and return it to ''how we used to know it.''

POVEK General Secretary Melios Georgiou said he hoped that Ledra Street will open soon and thanked AKEL for its positive attitude on the common demand of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot small to medium sized enterprises.

President of the Turkish Cypriot Artisans and Shop Owners' Association (KTEZO) Hurrem Tulga said the opening of Ledra Street and direct trade between the two sides would contribute to establishing conditions of peace between the two sides.

He added that Turkish Cypriot SMS business people would carry out a series of gatherings, demanding the opening of Ledra Street and other crossing points.

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

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