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President hopes that as barriers of communication are lifted, dividing line will also be removed

President, Nicos Anastasiades, has expressed the hope that as the barriers of communication between the two sides of the divide in Cyprus are being lifted, the line dividing the country will also be removed.

Anastasiades said on his Twitter account, following the implementation, on Thursday, of the interoperability of mobile phones across the island, that he and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci made their first phone call by which the interoperability of the mobile phones was implemented in practice.

My wish is that as we lifted the barriers of communication, we will also remove the line dividing our country, he added.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The last round of negotiations, in the summer of 2017, at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.

The measure to link mobile networks across the divide was among the CBMs the leaders first announced back in 2015. During an informal meeting last February, the leaders decided to implement the CBM on mobile interoperability through separate agreements of the operators on both sides with a hub based in Europe, in order to facilitate greater interaction between the two communities.

Meanwhile European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis has congratulated Anastasiades and Akıncı on the development.

“As of today, subscribers to Cypriot mobile networks can use their phones throughout Cyprus without interruption, including when they cross the green line. The EU Commission Structural Reforms Support Service provided technical and legal advice and financial resources via an Aid Programme,” he said.

“I want to thank leaders of the two communities for their commitment and determination to see this important confidence building measure through.

“This initiative will have a positive impact on lives of Cypriots as it will lead to savings for mobile phone users when they cross the green line. It is also a symbolic measure enabling greater interaction between the communities on the island.”

According to a written statement “the Commission has played an active role in supporting the negotiations between the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus for a fair, comprehensive and viable settlement of the Cyprus issue, held under the auspices of the United Nations.”

“The Commission’s Structural Reform Support Service (SRSS) coordinates the Commission’s work in supporting the Cyprus settlement process. To support the conclusion of the agreement for seamless mobile phone use throughout Cyprus, the SRSS provided technical and legal advice, as well as financial resources from the Aid Programme for the Turkish Cypriot community,” the statement reads.

(Cyprus News Agency)

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