The government on Sunday rejected criticism that there were ulterior motives behind the temporarily closure of four checkpoints, saying its decision aimed exclusively to protect Greek and and Turkish Cypriots from coronavirus.
There are no reported cases of coronavirus on either side of the Green Line. The government yesterday closed four checkpoints so as to reinforce screening at the remaining three checkpoints in what it said was aimed exclusively at protecting public health.
But critics have accused it of using coronavirus as an excuse to hamper contacts between the two communities. There were scuffles at the Ledra Street checkpoint yesterday when demonstrators pushed aside the barricades and entered the buffer zone. A 55 year old man was later arrested for allegedly assaulting a soldier.
“There is no intention on the part of the government to create any problem in movement through the checkpoints. The only reason these preventive measures were taken concern the problem of the coronavirus,” government spokesman Kyriakos Koushos said.
All necessary efforts are underway by the government to reopen the checkpoints as soon as possible and that is why the situation is being evaluated every day, he added.
Moreover, efforts were underway to facilitate the movement of both Turkish and Greek Cypriot as the government had no intention to obstruct access to the two sides of the island, he said.
Koushos also expressed regret about Saturday’s incident, the assault on the soldier and the way some citizens had reacted as “there is absolutely no political intention in the decision of the government.”