(dpa) - Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat used the new Ledra Street border crossing to enter southern Cyprus on Friday, becoming the first northern Cypriot leader to do so in more than three decades.
Talat walked across the buffer zone that splits the capital at the new Ledra Street crossing and visited a number of shops, including an ice cream store he used to frequent as a child.
"We tried in the past to open Ledra Street and did not succeed but now we have managed to do so and I wanted to visit and see the benefits," he told journalists.
"The opening of the crossing does not mean reunification ... (but) we will be the ones to reach reunification."
Talat was the first Turkish Cypriot leader to cross to the southern part of the country since it was divided in 1974 following the invasion by Turkey in reaction to a Greek-backed 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 against it.
Both Christofias and Talat agreed last month to resume peace talks by the end of June, open up the Ledra Street crossing 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.