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Ledra Street to Open by End of Next Week
2008-03-27 09:55:12

Nicosia, Mar 27 - The UN Development Programme (UNDP), with funds from the European Union, on Wednesday completed a safety check in the area of the proposed Ledra Street crossing point in Nicosia.

The check for unexploded ordnance was necessary to secure buildings before the opening of the crossing point. A six-person mine action team carried out the search, with support from the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). No dangerous items were found.

Mayor of the capital Eleni Mavrou stated today that: "Tomorrow machines and whatever equipment is needed will be transferred to the area,” the Mayor said, noting that “we need around a week to open the crossing point and we expect this to happen at the end of next week”.

She further noted that a technical team, consisting of architects, civil engineers and mechanical engineers, inspected the area this morning and will conclude its survey tomorrow. The team is examining the condition of old buildings on site.

Ms. Mavrou noted that the condition of some buildings is really bad and that the UN peace-keeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) has to verify that these old buildings will not put lives at risk and that safe passage of people will be guaranteed.

Referring to the work expected to take place in the area, Mayor Mavrou said that first the engineers must probe up collapsing buildings and improve the road, install lighting in the street and make sanitary inspections.

Following that, there will be some construction work, which will continue for several months to restore the facade of existing buildings. She explained that there will be no shops in the area, which will only be used as a passage.

“After all it is still a check point, despite the meaning and symbolism”, she said.

Asked whether the Turkish occupation troops have withdrawn from the area, the Mayor said that she has reassurances that “there will be no movement of troops in the area and they have already withdrawn.”

She concluded that the EU Commission has allocated 100 thousand euro for the work that needs to be done and additional funds will be available.

Work at Ledra Street, both in the UN controlled buffer zone and on both sides of the road, began this week, following an agreement last Friday by the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities to open a crossing point at Ledra, one of the capital’s main commercial streets, a thriving commercial area prior to the Turkish invasion.

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