The mayors of the island’s divided capital are determined to open two more crossing points between the communities, it emerged on Tuesday.
According to Mayor of the Turkish Cypriot municipality of Nicosia Mehmet Harmanci, he and Mayor of Nicosia Constantinos Yiorkadjis are determined to push for opening more crossing points.
Harmanci said the two of them have different political views but the municipalities have good relations.
They have agreed to work for opening a crossing point for vehicles near Famagusta Gate, and one for pedestrians at Paphos Gate.
Nicosia has three other crossings, Ledra Palace and Ledra Street in the centre and Ayios Dhometios, to the west, outside the old city.
The issue first came up in May 2015 when President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci agreed to open Dherynia and Lefka, which have yet to open.
In 2015, Yiorkadjis sent a letter to Anastasiades asking for the opening of all crossing points to the occupied areas within the Nicosia municipality’s city limits.
Yiorkadjis stressed the necessity of opening a crossing at Paphos Gate in particular, noting that the area is a focal point for five religions (Christian Orthodox, Muslim, Maronite, Armenian Christian, and Roman Catholic).
The area near the Paphos Gate is the home of the catholic Church of the Holy Cross and the Maronite Virgin Mary Church.
Yiorkadjis argued that the area could be transformed into a “religious promenade” that if properly developed “could be a microcosm of multiculturalism and co-existence of the faithful.”