Greek and Turkish Cypriots open barricaded Nicosia street

(dpa) - Greek and Turkish Cypriots tore down a barricaded pedestrian shopping street in the heart of the divided capital of Nicosia, symbolising decades of the Mediterranean island's division, for the first time in 44 years Thursday.

In a ceremony attended by UN officials, the Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot mayors of Nicosia and aids to the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders, the 80-metre street in the main commercial district of Nicosia, was declared open to pedestrians after ribbons attached to balloons were cut.

"We all know that the opening of Ledra Street does not mean the Cyprus problem is resolved. There is much more hard work to be done," said Elizabeth Spehar, the chief of mission for the United Nations in Cyprus.

"But the opening gives us a glimpse of what is possible when all the elements come together," she added.

The opening of Ledra Street, as it is known in Greek and Lokmaci in Turkish, 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.

"We are living a historic day today. We are witnessing one of the obstacles to a solution come down," Osdil Nami, aid to Talat.

"Almost half a century of division is symbolised in Ledra Street," he said during the ceremony.

"It also symbolises for me that when Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots can over come their fears and they can overcome long-standing disputes and arguments."

The reopened area links the two sides of Ledra Street, closed since 1963 and becomes the sixth crossing point where people can enter the Greek Cypriot south and Turkish Cypriot north.

United Nations demining experts as well as Greek and Turkish Cypriot engineers had been preparing the crossing, which runs through a UN controlled buffer zone, for pedestrian traffic - paving roads, installing street and securing crumbling buildings with scaffolding for the past week.

Turkish military patrols, part of the 40,000 stationed in the northern third of Cyprus and which were once visible over the divide, were also removed from the immediate area.

"We still have a long way to go," said Greek Cypriot Nicosia Mayor Eleni Mavrou." This is the first step. We hope many more will follow."

Ledra Street has been barricaded since 1964 when British peacekeepers decided to divide the street between Nicosia' s Greek and Turkish communities as a result of intercommunal fighting.

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

With newly elected Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias in office, expectations are running high for reunification talks to resume, stalled since a UN-brokered peace plan came to nothing almost four years ago when Greek Cypriots voted no.

Both Christofias and Talat agreed last month to resume peace talks by the end of June and to set up several teams of experts to look at issues ranging from environment and health to property and territory disputes as part of their preparations for full negotiations.

IAM Construction LLC to reconstruct facility in Azerbaijan’s Seaside Park
IAM Construction LLC to reconstruct facility in Azerbaijan’s Seaside Park
Iran to construct new seaport making it largest in country
Iran to construct new seaport making it largest in country
Turkmenistan reveals indicators of construction, industrial sector
Turkmenistan reveals indicators of construction, industrial sector
Loading Bars
JP Morgan says OPEC to boost supply in 2021
OPEC crude output to exceed 30 mbpd in 2022 – JP Morgan
Uzbekistan, India talk mutual phytosanitary permits for agricultural products
Turkmenistan exceeds plan for transport, communication sector
Weekly review of Azerbaijani oil market
Nepal PM Oli receives first jab of Indian-made COVID-19 vaccine
Iran's economic development declines
IAM Construction LLC to reconstruct facility in Azerbaijan’s Seaside Park
Azerbaijan’s state interests on Azerbaijani-Armenian border protected at highest level
China's focus on annual GDP targets gives greater policy flexibility
Iran's CBI reveals amount of loans issued in Iran's trade sector
Buy/sell operations at Iran Mercantile Exchange on the rise
Iran kicks off development of Ramin oil field in Khuzestan Province
Iran reveals amount of loans issued in housing and construction sector
Iranian currency rates for March 8
Iranian banks issue big loans to agricultural sector
Iran boosts development of Zilayi oil field
Iran boosts exports via Zanjan Province
Iran's exports to Azerbaijan not on high enough level - Ali Jahangiri
State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan enters top five most transparent sovereign wealth funds
Large-amount loans issued in Iran's services sector
Excavations at Iran's South Pars gas field continue
Significant work done on water and electricity sectors in Iran – minister
Azerbaijan’s Buta Airways low-cost airline to resume flights from Baku to Ukraine’s Kyiv
Iran implements plan to maintain, increase extraction from several oil fields
Turkmenistan sees increase in trade turnover volumes
Japan government spokesman says timing of Biden-Suga meeting undecided
Exports to Iraq via Mehran crossing top $460m
Kazakhstan’s daily COVID-19 case count stands at 653
Weekly review of Azerbaijani ICT sector highlights
GE nears deal to combine aircraft-leasing unit with AerCap
Reopening schools a "national effort" to beat coronavirus - UK PM
Iran to construct new seaport making it largest in country
France ramps up weekend COVID-19 vaccinations after slow start
U.S. administers 90.35 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines
Swiss agree to outlaw facial coverings in 'burqa ban' vote
UK reports 82 new COVID-19 deaths
White House cites 'active threat,' urges action despite Microsoft patch
Iran's South Pars Gas Company declares gas production volumes
President Ilham Aliyev makes Facebook post on International Women's Day
4 terrorists killed in security forces operations in NW Pakistan
Turkey registers more than 11 180 new coronavirus cases
Iran’s CBI unveils amount of loans issued by banks
Azerbaijani Finance Ministry to auction off interest-bearing bonds
Iran to launch several facilities under city municipalities
Azerbaijan together with McKinsey improving railway sector
Turkmenistan's State Development Bank opens tender for IFRS 9 standard implementation
FIA updates schedule of Formula 1 weekends
Amount of loans issued in Iran's industrial and mining sectors announced
Israel's forex reserves hit record 185.09 bln USD
Review of main events of Azerbaijani financial market for first week of March
Turkey goes zero waste in agriculture
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on March 8
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price rebounds
Uzbekistan takes additional measures to support livestock industries
Iran’s CBI shares report on open market operations
Geostat reveals volume of meat production in Georgia
Reopening schools a "national effort" to beat coronavirus: UK PM
Jordan's PM reshuffles cabinet to accelerate reforms
Turkmenistan's oil refining volumes exceed plan
Kazakhstan increases imports from Hungary in 2020
Iran's interbank interest rate decrease
Weekly review of Azerbaijani currency market
Indonesia reports 5,826 new COVID-19 cases, 112 more deaths
7 killed, 3 missing in floods in northern Algeria
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for March 7
Azerbaijan shows footage from Aghdam's Suma village (VIDEO)
COVID cases up in Turkey’s 3 biggest cities as east enjoys calm
Turkmenistan reveals indicators of construction, industrial sector
Iran launches new projects in Hormozgan Province
Azerbaijan's Mortgage & Credit Guarantee Fund signs tender contract
Russia’s confirmed coronavirus cases grow by 10,595 in past day to 4,322,776
Azerbaijan confirms 127 more COVID-19 recoveries
Bitcoin rises 4.2% to $50,947.94
Georgia reports 234 coronavirus cases, 349 recoveries, 9 deaths
Uzbekneftegaz stabilizes pressure at gas pipelines of Mubarek oil & gas dep’t
Prices on Azerbaijani oil continue to rise
Khazar Consortium opens tender for purchase of steam field unit
Iran to manufacture new wagons and locomotives
Saudi-led coalition destroys 10 Houthi drones
Document on providing all countries with vaccine against COVID-19 adopted under Azerbaijan’s chairmanship in NAM
8 police, 5 militants killed during clashes in N. Afghanistan
Weekly review of Azerbaijani precious metals market
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on March 7
Azerbaijan shows footage from Fuzuli's Garakollu village (VIDEO)
Weekly review of major developments in Azerbaijan's transport sector
S. Korea reports 416 more COVID-19 cases, 92,471 in total
Health Minister: Only WHO approved vaccine to be imported
Turkey records dropping revenues from cement export to Georgia
Iran's customs releases more imported commodities
Turkmenistan shares data on GDP growth rate
New hazelnut processing plant to open in Azerbaijan’s Zagatala
New Zealand's Auckland emerges from lockdown, Australia starts AstraZeneca vaccinations
China exports jump 60.6% y/y in January-February, imports up 22.2%
Brazil registers 1,555 deaths from COVID-19 in 24 hours
Iran's trade, economic, political relations with neighboring countries to be developed
Ebola infects 29 people, kills 13 in Guinea, DRC: Africa CDC
UN chief condemns terrorist attack in Somalia
Paraguay’s president asks all ministers to resign amid protest rallies
Weekly review of highlights in Azerbaijan's agricultural sector
All news