Immediate Opening of Crossing Points

Ενημέρωση στις May 15, 2020

As the current wave of the Covid-19 pandemic is gradually coming under control and restrictions are easing down, our lives continue to be in a state of limbo. These extraordinary conditions have, at a societal level, been tragic when we turn our attention to those who lost their lives or have suffered not only through illness but more so through deprivation of the means to survive. The most devastated are the underprivileged and those whose life has been severely disrupted but also those directly affected by the closing of the check points even before a single incident was recorded in the north or south.

Since the opening of the check points in 2003 and following bi-communal campaigns the opening of many more crossing points, contacts have rekindled relations and gradually established bonds and ties between common people on both sides of the divide, opening up new possibilities for collaboration. This has been severely disrupted by the closing of crossing points.

1. Large number of people crossing to go to work have been left with no income.

2. People with cancer and other conditions have been left with no treatment.

3. Families have been forced to separate and are unable to reunite.

4. Students are unable to access their schools to take exams.

5. Producers are unable to take their produce across.

6. Technical committees are unable to cooperate and vital projects are suspended

7. Bi-communal projects are suspended and young proffessionals and others are unable to work

Both sides now have issued a road map for the easing of restrictions. However, it is with concern that we observe that there is no reference to the opening of the crossing points. It is underscored that over the last few days there have been zero new cases of Covid-19 infection in the north and a small number of such cases in the south. There is no evidence of any increased risk from crossing from one side to the other as long as the same measures implemented all across the country would also apply to people crossing.

This is a matter for a common scientific and health committee to immediately discuss and implement such measures as originally agreed between the two leaders. It is essential that the Leaders of the two Communities meet with their experts and examine the overall conditions with regard to the pandemic over the whole island and put in place meaningful and effective measures and controls that would enable safe crossing between north and south. Genuine cooperation and day to day joint monitoring of implementation of decisions taken are essential to properly combating the pandemic.

Despite unfortunate events, this wave of the pandemic has hopefully been put under control through International Cooperation and acts of solidarity at collective and personal level even in areas of confrontation. It is of essence that such spirit of cooperation and solidarity be the guiding factor between the two sides in Cyprus for the benefit of all Cypriots.

The Pandemic crisis has resulted in the drastic drop in the price of oil internationally, seriously affecting the viability of all gas projects in the Eastern Mediterranean. In the light to the this, there is little scope for tension related to hydrocarbon exploration. This paradoxical situation can provide the necessary room for a renewed initiative that would take advantage of the positive achievements at Crans Montana and attempt positive progress towards a solution of the Cyprus problem. Moreover, we can utilize past experiences where tragic conditions and disasters paved the way for a spirit of constructive cooperation and solidarity.

Out of the difficulties brought to all by Covid-19, let the necessity of cooperation for combating the pandemic be a catalyst for bringing the two communities closer together to implement such actions but also to take advantage of current new realities that could potentially enable a renewed momentum for progress towards achieving reunification.

Let the re-opening of the Crossing Points be the beginning of a new era of cooperation. We call upon the Leaders of the two Communities to immediately take steps to open the crossing points demonstrating in this way their committment for positive progress.

The Bi-communal Peace Initiative-United Cyprus
12th May, 2020