Cyprus prepares to open barricaded street in central Nicosia

Türkiye Materials 3 April 2008 10:43 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - City workers were removing the last barricades on both sides of a street in the heart of the divided capital of Nicosia, symbolising decades of the Mediterranean island's division, ahead of its opening Thursday, Cyprus television showed.

Ledra Street, which has come to symbolize the island's division, is a busy pedestrian thoroughfare marking the dividing line between the ethnic Greek and Turkish parts of the city is to be opened to pedestrian traffic at 9 am Thursday.

Those present for the opening will include Greek Cypriot Nicosia Mayor Eleni Mavrou and Turkish Cypriot Nicosia Cemal Bulutoglulari.

The area to be opened that will link the two sides of Ledra Street, closed since 1963, is around 75-80 metres long and is currently considered no-man's-land and patrolled by UN peacekeepers.

The opening of Ledra Street is part of a landmark deal between Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat on March 21 who agreed to resume peace negotiations by the end of June.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded the northern third of the island in response to a brief Greek-inspired coup.