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Govt says ‘no information’ on widening Ayios Dometios checkpoint

Cars queue up at the Ayios Dometios checkpoint
File photo

The government has received no information, suggestions, or relevant contact from technical committees regarding any upgrades to the Ayios Dometios checkpoint, Transport Minister Alexis Vafeades said on Wednesday.

Speaking to the Cyprus Mail, Vafeades said such matters had not been brought onto the government’s agenda at this time.

He was speaking after the Turkish Cypriot co-chair of the bicommunal Crossing points technical committee Aysan Mullahasan said, “the committee has requested from [the Greek Cypriot side] to solve the problem at the Ayios Dometios crossing point for the last two years”.

“We explained that increasing the number of personnel and police booths could be a quick and easy solution and offered suggestions. They also viewed this positively and presented their own projects,” she added.

She said the plans “foresee additional lanes at Ayios Dometios”, adding “the crossing points are now very busy, so we prepared a project and called for the addition of new lanes and more modern and civilised crossing points. Our talks are continuing, and I would prefer if simultaneous projects [from both sides] were implemented”.

Vafeades’ statements were corroborated by the north’s ‘foreign minister’ Erhan Arikli, who told local media “There is no progress yet. We have not received any official contact”.

In addition, he poured cold water on the idea of upgrading the crossing point or opening a new one at present.

“If a new crossing point opens, there will be problems with the immigration police and customs officers we would put there. We have a very serious problem. We must increase the number of personnel at both Ercan airport and the crossing points,” he said.

He added, “if they say, ‘open the gates’ today and we do, we will have a problem with the number of police and customs personnel”.

However, he did say the opening of new crossing points is on the agenda of the north’s ‘government’.

“Opening three to four gates is on the agenda. Our meetings are continuing. We are trying to increase the number of police at existing crossing points,” he said.

He added that “we need at least 1,500 police officers to improve these issues”.

Additionally, Mullahasan said “apart from the Ayios Dometios crossing point, which is the only vehicle crossing point in Nicosia, we went to the committee with two different suggestions”.

These suggestions were for the Ledra Palace crossing point, which is currently closed to road traffic with the exception of diplomatic vehicles, to open to commercial vehicles, and for there to be a new crossing point at Mia Milia for taxis, buses, rental cars and commercial vehicles.

She said the proposals “have not yet received a response”.

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