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Meeting to discuss opening of checkpoint at Kokkina

The Turkish Cypriot enclave of Kokkina means a long detour inland for those travelling along the north-west coast

Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots met in Paphos on Wednesday to discuss opening a checkpoint at Kokkina on the north-west coast.

Greek Cypriot negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis attended the meeting, along with the Greek Cypriot joint chairman of the Technical Committee on Crossings, Sotos Zacheos.

The Turkish Cypriot mayor of Lefka, Azis Kaya, the mayor of Polis Chrysochou, Giotis Papachristofi, and of Pomos, Evangelos Stylianou were also at the meeting.

The president of the committee pushing for the opening at Kokkina, Andreas Karos told CNA, the crossing at Kokkina was vital for people living in the region on both sides of the divide as it could link that region of Paphos directly to Nicosia.

At present people travelling between Paphos or Polis and Pyrgos are forced on a long detour inland as they cannot go along the coast through Kokkina.

He said Mavroyiannis and Zacheos told the participants they were prepared to make every effort to open the Kokkina crossing. At a later stage, he added, a meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinji would be arranged to press the case with him.

Karos said Kokkina has been closed off since 1964. Following the outbreak of intercommunal violence in December 1963, Turkish Cypriots had established a bridgehead at Kokkina in 1964, being provided with arms, volunteers and materials from Turkey.

Seeing the incursion as a major threat, the Cypriot government launched an attack leading to major bombing campaign by Turkey.  For three days in August, Turkish warplanes bombed the nearby Tylliria area, hitting residential areas and a hospital. Over 50 people were killed, including 19 civilians.

The threat of a Turkish military escalation and a resolution of the United Nations Security Council calling for a ceasefire ended the standoff on August 10, 1964.

Two new crossing points opened simultaneously last November at Dherynia and Apliki, bringing the total number of crossing points on the island to nine.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in his report on Unficyp released on Saturday encouraged the two leaders “to consider the opening of additional crossing points, including in Nicosia, as advocated by the Nicosia mayors”.

 

 

 

 

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