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By Peter Stevenson MEMBERS of Volunteer Doctors Cyprus have treated around 350 people at their free clinic in Nicosia since it opened three months ago, while two more, one in Paphos and one in Polis are due to open today. Limassol also has a free clinic, which was opened only last month, and plans have been drawn ...
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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Frantic work to prepare Ledra Street for opening ]

Frantic work to prepare Ledra Street for opening

WORK at the end of Ledra Street continued feverishly yesterday in an attempt to finish everything that needed to be done by this morning’s opening.

The long-awaited crossing point will officially be opened at 9am, with statements from Presidential Commissioner George Iacovou and Ozdil Nami, an advisor to Turkish Cypriot leader Mehemt Ali Talat.

Both men were instrumental in having the crossing opened in record time.

After a nearly three-year delay under the previous government, it has taken only two weeks for the sides to reach agreement and to carry out the necessary work.

The Mayors of divided Nicosia will also make statements, and diplomats are also likely to attend the opening of the street that has been barricaded for nearly half a century.

In a final interview last night with state television CyBC at the bottom of Ledra Street, Nicosia Mayor Eleni Mavrou said everything was on schedule to open on time.

She said the final jobs that needed to be done would be carried out this morning at around 6.30am. This involved removing the plastic barrier currently closing off the 80-metre buffer zone between the two sides, and the removal of the Greek Cypriot National Guard post.

Mavrou confirmed that no Turkish soldiers would be visible to pedestrians either.

She said the municipality would continue fixing the buildings in the coming months, but the work would not affect pedestrians.

“Some of the buildings are in a very bad condition,” she added.
“I hope we can finish that soon as well.”

Mavrou said, however, that there were no plans at present for the commercial use of the buildings on either side of the path. “There is no agreement on this,” Mavrou said, adding that the issue would probably be discussed at a later date.

There was a meeting of the municipal council yesterday to brief them on the opening, and to exchange views, the Mayor said.

“This is an important and symbolic step,” said Mavrou. “Unfortunately Ledra Street will be a checkpoint. The message in opening it will be helpful towards a solution, but it will still be a checkpoint.”

Police also said yesterday they were ready. During a visit to the end of Ledra Street, Police Chief Costas Papacostas said: “We are in the final stages and waiting for the green light.”

Meanwhile non-governmental organisations are gearing up for a day of celebrations today.

The Committee for the Opening of Ledra Street announced it would be holding an event titled “We Sing for Ledra” at 6pm. The Committee has been pushing for the past three years for the crossing to open.

“This is an important step in the effort for reunification of Cyprus and a solution to the Cyprus question,” the Committee said in a statement.

“The Ledra barricade, a tool and symbol of segregation and partition since 1963, will no longer exist as a barrier.”

The Committee also lambasted the political factions that have been playing down the opening. “The miserable approach of certain political and other factions that want to diminish the importance of this belong in a different era that sought only stagnation and obstacles to the reunification of Cyprus,” it added.

‘We Sing for Ledra’ will begin at Eleftheria Square and participants will march to the crossing, make statements and then cross over where a joint event will be held with Turkish Cypriots at 7.30pm.

Tradesmen and artists from both sides will also have an event, as will another group that wants people to “freeze” in time for five minutes.

(Source: Cyprus Mail)

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