AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou called on the government on Wednesday to pay more attention to the mixed buffer-zone village of Pyla in the Larnaca district, saying that with a little development it could be a real model community where Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots live together.
Kyprianou met the leaders of the two Pyla communities during his visit to the village of some 1,200 inhabitants, one third of them Turkish Cypriots. The mixed village, in which the status quo is monitored by the UN has had its problems and disputes between the two communities in the past, but last month held its first-ever bicommunal festival.
“Pyla is a community in which Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots live together very harmoniously,” said Kyprianou. “At the same time, however, it faces many problems, and so I undertook to visit to have a meeting with both communities and we discussed ways in which AKEL could help further the development of the village.”
Kyprianou acknowledged there were problem related to illegal activities – mainly smuggling from the north. Police from both sides do not have jurisdiction in the village, even though they are allowed in. The the AKEL leader said this could be tackled to some extent with more financial aid to the community.
“The government should pay special attention to Pyla as a community model,” he said, adding that he would take up the issue with the relevant ministries.
He said he had already spoken to Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides by phone and would also speak with Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos “to take appropriate action and initiatives in order to promote some projects in the community”.
Projects currently underway in Pyl include the expansion of the primary school by adding four classrooms, the creation of playgrounds at the Linear Park in the tourist area, the creation of more green areas and the construction of pavements and pedestrian areas.
The Greek Cypriot community leader Simos Mytides thanked Kyprianou for his interest in the village.
“There are some special problems in Pyla and there are some issues that should be properly handled to keep the right balance. We believe the AKEL general secretary’s visit today will have some effect,” he said.
Mytides said it was not only a question of illegal activities that concerned them but the means of finding the cash to finish ongoing projects, including the upgrading of the main square.
Turkish Cypriot community leader Nejdet Emver also thanked Kyprianou for visiting and said their meeting had been “very constructive”.
“We discussed political issues that concern us and the creation of some development in the community,” he said.