Greek and Turkish Cypriots Under ''One Roof'' On Ledra Street

Other News Materials 4 April 2008 00:29 (UTC +04:00)

( Efluxmedia ) - Greek and Turkish Cypriots decided, after more than 40 years of separation, to dismember the barricades blocking Ledra Street, a potent symbol of Cyprus's ethnic partition.

Ledra Street, one of the main shopping streets in Cyprus, has been opened for the first time in 44 years. The 80-meter lane was crossed enthusiastically by hundreds of Greek and Turkish Cypriots, after the official ceremony attended by United Nations envoys and dignitaries from both communities.

The decision to reopen the street was taken on March 21 during a meeting between Greek Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.

The symbolic gesture assists the decision to end the Mediterranean island's division, an impediment to Turkey's membership of the European Union and a great cause of tension between NATO partners Athens and Ankara.

Cyprus was gapped into a Greek Cypriot south and a Turkish Cypriot north in 1974.

Comments on the ceremony appeared from many directions, the general opinion being that the step taken was on the right path. Everyone knows that this was just the beginning and that the hard part is yet to come.

"We all know opening Ledra Street does not mean the Cyprus problem is resolved. There is much more hard work to be done... But the opening gives us a glimpse of what is possible," said Elizabeth Spehar, the chief of mission for the United Nations in Cyprus, quoted by Reuters.

"The political will is there from the two leaders, now they have to turn it into a solution," said Peter Millet, British High Commissioner in Cyprus, according to The Herald Tribune.