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Cyprus tears down barricade dividing island
Reuters via ^ | Thur April 3rd, 2008 | Michele Kambas and Simon Bahceli

Posted on 04/03/2008 7:02:17 PM PDT by posterchild

NICOSIA (Reuters) - Greek and Turkish Cypriots pulled down barricades on Thursday separating them for half a century, reopening a street which became a symbol of Cyprus's ethnic partition.

The reopening of Ledra Street was meant to be a step towards ending the island's division, an obstacle to Turkey's membership of the European Union and a source of tension between NATO partners Athens and Ankara.

Hundreds of Greek and Turkish Cypriots crossed Ledra after the 80-metre (262 ft) stretch of road in the main commercial district of Nicosia was opened to pedestrians in a ceremony attended by UN envoys and dignitaries from both communities.

"I couldn't sleep all night. I will walk to St Loukas church (on the Turkish Cypriot side) and light a candle," said Loukia Skordi Salidou, 65.

"My generation is dying. Thank God I'm alive to see this."

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: cyprus; enosis; greece; turkey

1 posted on 04/03/2008 7:02:17 PM PDT by posterchild
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To: posterchild
Cyprus border closed again - 03 April 2008 - Nicosia - The Ledra Street border crossing in the Cypriot capital of Nicosia, opened earlier today for the first time in decades, has been shut again. The Greek-Cypriot police say that the crossing has only been closed temporarily, owing to protest at the presence of Turkish-Cypriot police in the neutral buffer zone. It had been agreed that only UN peacekeepers would be stationed in the zone. The Greek-Cypriot police say that the border will be reopened once 'order is restored'.

Cyprus' New Crossing Meets Trouble - Stefanos Stefanou, a spokesman for the internationally recognized Greek Cypriot government, said Turkish Cypriot police illegally patrolled part of the street by entering the U.N.-controlled buffer zone. "We have been very clear that violations cannot be tolerated," Stefanou told The Associated Press. The closure ended after scores of protesters gathered on both sides, chanting "Cyprus belongs to its people," and U.N. officials mediated between rival police forces. "After consultations with the U.N., we have been given assurances that this will not happen again," said Kypros Michailidis, Nicosia's Greek Cypriot police chief. There was no immediate comment from Turkish Cypriot officials. The brief closure contrasted with the opening ceremony earlier Thursday, when officials from both sides of the divide cut the ribbons of colored helium balloons to mark the occasion. Crews had swept away debris, repaved the street, installed lighting and reinforced abandoned buildings along the 230-foot stretch of Ledra Street that runs through a U.N. controlled buffer zone. "We managed to turn the world's attention on us today, and hours later we've managed to mess things up," said protester Valentina Sofocleous, who headed a citizens' campaign to reopen Ledra Street. "This is absurd, but we believe it's a problem that will be overcome and that Greek and Turkish Cypriots will live together."

2 posted on 04/03/2008 7:08:57 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
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To: Tailgunner Joe; All


3 posted on 04/03/2008 8:00:36 PM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! and
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