One hundred and eight organisations, political parties, trade unions and NGOs on Saturday demonstrated for the opening of more crossing points under the banner: ‘For peace and a solution open all roads!’
“As people living in Cyprus, we suffer and are deeply concerned about our future due to the economic, social and political problems caused by the division of our island,” a joint statement by participating groups said.
Greek Cypriots gathered on Salaminos Street, near the Famagusta gate in Nicosia, Turkish Cypriots gathered in Kougioulou Park next to the Kyrenia gate, while some of the participants marched alongside each other towards the Orpheas area of the Green Line.
At the end of the march, the groups issued a resolution to a representative of the UN Peacekeeping Force calling for the opening of new crossing points, as well as the resumption of talks on the basis of the Guterres framework for a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with political equality and the implementation of confidence-building measures (CBMs).
The groups explained that “the proposal and implementation of CBMs will strengthen the hand of the progressive organisations who are in favour of labour and peace, against all those forces which have an unrealistic separatist dream of a two-state solution”.
Both Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot marchers said that they “will continue fighting for a united Cyprus, without the presence of foreign troops and dividing lines”.
As a symbolic gesture, participants released white balloons from both sides of the divide as a wish to see Nicosia and Cyprus reunited.
Regarding the opening of new crossing points, the groups said that while agreements took place a while ago, they have yet to materialise.
“We are now running out of patience,” the statement said. “The way for the reunification of Nicosia and other parts of our island and the common future of the two communities passes through these streets”.
Akel general secretary Stephanos Stephanou, who attended the event, said it was particularly important in light of the impasse in talks since 2017, explaining that the situation was being instrumentalised by Turkey to consolidate the invasion and occupation of Cyprus.
“There is a need through activities and actions of rapprochement to keep the flame of hope for the solution lit,” Stephanou said.
“Our request is to open more crossings to help increase communication between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, but especially to give the message that we must not stop trying to resolve the Cyprus issue and that we must resume negotiations,” he added.