The United Nations peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) has welcomed the decision taken by President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci to gradually lift restrictions in movement through crossing points.
Invited to comment the decision, UNFICYP Spokesperson Aleem Siddique told CNA that “UNFICYP welcomes today’s discussion between the leaders and their decision to ease restrictions at the crossing points.”
He added that “we stand ready to assist the sides and the bi-communal Technical Committee on health on the way forward as the situation allows.”
According to a written statement issued by Government Spokesman, Kyriacos Koushos, President Anastasiades spoke on Thursday on the phone with Akinci, at his own initiative and conveyed to the Turkish Cypriot leader a relevant decision to gradually lift restrictions in movement through crossing points.
Anastasiades and Akinci exchanged views and arrived at a mutual understanding to allow passage from crossing points for motor vehicles initially, starting on June 8.
The measure applies to Turkish Cypriots working or studying in the areas under the control of the Republic of Cyprus, or people receiving treatment at the Bank of Cyprus Oncology Center, the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics, public or private hospitals in the Republic of Cyprus.
The same applies for enclaved Greek Cypriots or Maronites who reside permanently in the Turkish-occupied areas of Cyprus.
It is noted, moreover, that passage will be allowed for Turkish Cypriot students crossing with a bus at Ledra Palace to go to their study places. At the same time, Koushos said that passage continues to be permitted for humanitarian reasons.
“The Cyprus government will regularly conduct random checks on people who pass through crossing points” he added.
It was also agreed to convene the soonest possible a meeting of the bicommunal Technical Committee on Health, to exchange views about the gradual lifting of restrictions at crossing points, depending on the epidemiological situation at a given time, the Government Spokesman concluded.
It was later announced that the Technical Committee on Health will meet early next week.