A Famagusta business group has asked the foreign minister not to open a new crossing to the Turkish-occupied north at Dheryinia because it would hurt businesses in the south.
In a statement on Friday, the board of the Famagusta tourist, commercial, and industrial society said their request was conveyed during a meeting with Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides on Wednesday.
The group’s chairman, Petros Petrou, said opening Dherynia without strict checks on products but also tourists visiting the north “could only have damaging effects on Famagusta district and our country in general.”
Petrou said agricultural and construction materials, medicine, alcoholic beverages, and fuel from the north probably didn’t meet the specifications set in the Republic and that would lead to similar phenomena in Famagusta.
He also voiced concern over the possibility of tourists visiting the north through the crossing since Dherynia was close to the holiday hotspots of Ayia Napa and Protaras.
“This would cause a huge negative impact on tourism businesses in free Famagusta,” he said.
Petrou said the pain of displacement and occupation would not be eased by opening crossings but with the liberation of Varosha.
A similar demand was made by in March by Ayia Napa Mayor Yiannis Karousos who said he opposed the opening of Dherynia without a solution of the Cyprus problem.
“We cannot subsidize tourism in the occupied areas through the crossing points.”
Opening a crossing point in Dherynia, and one in the Lefka area had been decided by Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci and President Nicos Anastasiades at the onset of reunification negotiations between them in 2015.
Significant work has been done in the area but more needs to be done before it was ready.