Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus and the only city in Europe that is still split in two, moved a step closer towards reunification today with the reopening of Ledra Street, which connects the northern part of the city and its Turkish majority, to the southern part, which is predominantly Greek. Since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded the northern half of the island, a stretch of the road has been closed off as no man’s land and watched around the clock by Turkish and Greek troops.
Last year Tassos Papadopoulos, the then Greek President, had ordered the demolition of the wall on the Greek side (the Turkish side had been pulled down in 2005), but part of Ledra Street had remained closed until now. Since the recent elections in Greek Cyprus, which brought Demetris Christofias to power, the pace of the reconciliation process has increased, as the resumption of dialogue and now the opening of Ledra Street have shown.
Only this week the UN Under Secretary General for Political Affairs, B. Lynn Pascoe, met with Christofias and Mehmet Ali Talat, the Turkish Cypriot leader, for the first time. Although no agreement seems to have been struck as yet, Lynn Pascoe has already expressed his optimism over finding a solution to the conflict and highlighted that “there is a lot of goodwill that wants a resolution of the Cyprus problem."
”The United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) published the results of an opinion poll last year which showed that a large majority in both communities are in favour of a federal solution to the Cyprus conflict.
- Cyprus News Agency: Ledra Street Opens
- UN News Centre: Cypriots ‘right to have high expectations’ for a settlement, top UN official says
- Nationalia: Winner of Cyprus elections expresses wish to reunify the island