The bi-communal group Famagusta Initiative has called on the Turkish Cypriot side to speed up work for the opening of the Dherynia crossing and not to wait until expected EU funds come through in January before beginning work.
Press reports in the north on Thursday said the Turkish Cypriot side had been informed that the Greek Cypriot side had already prepared its 300 metres of roadway and was waiting for the north to proceed with asphalting 2.7km on its end.
However Kibris said they were awaiting funding from the EU, which would not come until January, before starting work.
The Initiative explained the social, cultural and economic benefits from the opening of the crossing to the north’s ‘interior minister’ and called the Turkish Cypriot side not to wait for the European Commission to approve the amount of €1.2 million needed to cover the asphalting, electricity and water infrastructure in the area, as it would just delay the project further. They were told efforts would be made to speed up the works.
After months of wrangling, an agreement was reached between both sides in October that would pave the way for the opening of the crossing.
Both sides had been at odds over the opening. The Greek Cypriot side wanted to use the existing road to Varosha but the Turkish side cited security issues, and wanted a new road built away from a Turkish army outpost.
The Turkish Cypriot side had therefore proposed that instead of using the existing road, they would re-route, bypassing the military zone there. The Greek Cypriots countered that would take longer, cost more money and possibly require appropriations of private land. By contrast, the old road going straight to Famagusta would simply need a fresh layer of asphalt and possible widening.
Another concern of the Turkish Cypriots was that the area might become a shrine to Greek Cypriots Tassos Isaac and Solomos Solomou, both murdered near the old road in 1996 after anti-occupation demos.
In the end it was decided to use the old road and move the army outpost.