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IP/08/510

Brussels, 3 April 2008

Cyprus – opening of the Ledra Street crossing

The Commission welcomes the opening of the Ledra Street crossing in Nicosia today, forty-four years after it had been closed. The opening of the crossing marks an important step forward in building confidence between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities.

Following the opening, Commissioner Rehn said: “I am delighted that the two sides on the island have moved ahead with this important decision to open the Ledra Street crossing. It will bring direct benefits to those living and working in the neighbourhood of Old Nicosia. Even more important is the symbolic value of the opening. It shows the two sides on the island are ready to put aside the difficulties of the past and work together to bring a comprehensive settlement and reunification to Cyprus under the aegis of the United Nations. The European Commission will for its part, fully support both communities on the island in this task.”

On 21 March the leaders of the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities took the important symbolic decision to open the Ledra Street crossing forty-four years after it had been closed. Now, less than two weeks later the crossing is open. The necessary safety works have been efficiently carried out as a result of the well co-ordinated efforts of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot municipalities of Nicosia, the UNPFI[1] and UNDP[2]. At the opening ceremony in Nicosia, Mr Jan Truszczynski, Deputy Director General of the Directorate General for Enlargement represented the Commission.

The EU has made € 15.000 available for the safety works necessary for the opening of the crossing as the first phase of an EU-financed and UNDP-managed project and more than €100.000 for the second phase, which will take about three months, and will upgrade the area to restore Ledra Street as the vibrant centre of Nicosia where all Cypriots can come together.


[1] United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus

[2] United Nations Development Programme


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