Government proposes ''way forward'' for Ledra street
Nicosia, Dec 8 – The Cyprus government has proposed the immediate freezing of all activities currently going on in the area of Ledra and Ermou streets related to the crossing point and the initiation by UNFICYP of consultations with a view to determining the arrangements needed for the opening of a new unimpeded crossing point.
In a proposal aiming to break the current deadlock, titled ''the way forward'' the government also noted the hope for the opening of Ledra Street, “as this will facilitate the development and general revitalization of the area, as well as economic integration and increased contacts between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, as per the 26 April 2004 EU GAERC conclusions”.
The government considers that in any practical arrangement for the opening of the crossing point all new structures to the south of Ermou Street and on both sides of Ledra Street must be removed, noting that “the passageway must be at a ground – level and hurdle – free, which in practice means the removal of the bridge”.
It further suggests that UNFICYP consider during the proposed consultations the defining of an area which would include the section of Ledra Street from Ermou Street up to the National Guard post as a civil-use area. In this framework, the Nicosia Masterplan team, within a period of six months to one year could be requested to submit a proposal for the restoration of buildings in this civil-use area.
The government undertakes to ask the European Union to fund the projects, the proposal adds.
Meanwhile, in a new development, Deputy Secretary General of the UN Hedi Anabi yesterday said that the UNFICYP will not proceed with the opening of the Ledra Street crossing.
During an unofficial debate on this at the UN Security Council, General Anabi also admitted that the construction of the bridge creates a problem. He stressed that according to the facts provided by the UN the bridge is not within the buffer zone, nor have the Turkish occupation forces advanced and there was no violation of the buffer zone.
However, he added, the construction of the bridge does not help in building confidence but on the contrary, it serves patrols by soldiers underneath and this was a negative development.