The government is taking steps with the UN and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci to try resolve issues caused by the new entry measures announced by the north, deputy government spokesman Panayiotis Sentonas said on Wednesday.
Speaking after a cabinet session, Sentonas said the government understands the problems the public face with crossing to the north and it has taken steps with both the UN and Akinci.
“So far, there has been no development over the matter,” he told reporters.
Turkish Cypriot ‘Foreign Minister’ Kudret Ozersay’s office later issued an announcement saying he had discussed the issue with the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Cyprus Elizabeth Spehar on Tuesday.
It was followed up on Wednesday where the deputy ‘foreign minister’ discussed technical details with Unficyp senior advisor Aderemi Adekoya and his team. According to the announcement, the problems Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots face in terms of checkpoints as well as how to solve them and make their daily life easier were discussed.
Unficyp will convey the suggestions of the Turkish Cypriot side to the Greek Cypriots and efforts to find a common ground for a solution will continue, the announcement added.
On Monday, the ‘health ministry’ announced that anyone wishing to enter the north from the Republic will need to state they have not left Cyprus for 14 continuous days and present a negative PCR test for the virus no more than 72 hours old, every time they cross.
Earlier on Wednesday, Kato Pyrgos community council leader Nicos Cleanthous said that Greek Cypriots can no longer use the Limnitis checkpoints following these new measures announced by the north and special arrangements should be made to help them.
Since the measure was announced, no Greek Cypriot has used the Limnitis checkpoint, Cleanthous said.
Turkish Cypriots working, studying or living in the Republic and Maronites and Greek Cypriots living in the north need to show a negative coronavirus certificate no more than 72 hours old.
Only these groups of people have to retest for the virus every 15 days and tests will be accepted either from the north or the state-controlled areas, the ‘ministry’ said.
Everyone else needs a test every 72 hours and is a particular problem for Kato Pyrgos residents who use the Limnitis crossing point as this is the quickest route to Nicosia.
According to Cleanthous, those who need to cross the checkpoint for work or medical reasons are left with the option of using the old forest road between Pyrgos, Kambos and Orkondas but this would take twice as much time and cost and is a very difficult road.
Cleanthous said their request is that “residents of Tyllyria who use the checkpoints only as a crossing and do not actually stop in the north should not need any formalities for the checkpoints.”
“Crossing in it of itself poses no risk for transmitting any diseases and consequently, there is no need to put residents of the area under so much hassle.”
In the same way Turkish military goes to Kokkina or transport their soldiers, equipment or relatives of soldiers that visit and do not stop anywhere on the way with no formalities, a similar arrangement should be made for residents in Kato Pyrgos Tyllirias, Cleanthous said.
At the moment, residents in contact with the government are waiting to see the results of negotiations between the government, the UN and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.