The island needs more checkpoints with easier access for both drivers and pedestrians, Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot political parties and commercial organisations said on Wednesday.
“The current crossing points do not satisfy the needs of the people using them, formalities and unnecessary procedures create further obstacles at the crossings, hence the urgent need for simplified and efficient mechanisms to reduce long queues and bureaucracy,” a joint statement said.
The call for more crossing points to be opened was signed by parties across the divide although Akel was the only one to do so from the Republic.
Parties from the north which signed it include CTP, YKP, TKP and BKP. Notably, however, Famagusta municipality and trade union PEO also signed the statement – with 109 various groups signing in total.
The statement was read out in both Greek and Turkish at the Home for Cooperation in Nicosia, where it was emphasised that those signing are determined to achieve their goal of more crossings throughout Cyprus.
It is understood that potential locations under discussion are focused on Athienou-Louroujina, Nicosia (both for pedestrian and vehicle access), the Kokkina area and others.
But the Cyprus News Agency cited a relevant source as saying that the issue is not currently being discussed at the level of bi-communal technical committees – which it said is the appropriate avenue for such a move.
They also added that the matter of crossings is also not on the agenda of negotiations, which are currently at an impasse.
The Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Keve) and its counterpart in the north also strongly support the proposal as they emphasised that more crossings would boost trade opportunities.
Their support for the move was outlined by Unficyp chief Colin Stewart who met with both on Tuesday.
“The urgency of strengthening economic and commercial ties across the island as a way of keeping prospects alive for a future solution was at the heart of the discussion,” UN Cyprus wrote on Twitter.
“Both chambers strongly encourage more trade opportunities, one way of doing so is through new or more efficient crossing points,” it added.