UN in Cyprus expresses concern over disruption at checkpoints

UN in Cyprus expresses concern over disruption at checkpoints

The United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) on Wednesday expressed concern over the “ongoing disruption” faced by residents of both sides of the island as a result of checkpoints remaining only partially open for specific groups.

Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency, UNFICYP spokesperson Aleem Siddique said that “while the UN supports all measures required to address the health crisis… it is imperative for the two sides to continue coordinating closely on the opening of the crossing points.”

He noted that UNFICYP has asked the north to clarify the situation regarding all nine crossing points across the Green Line.

Sidiqque said the UN’s mission in Cyprus “stands ready to assist both sides on the way forward.”

President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci agreed on May 21 to allow the partial opening of checkpoints that can be crossed by car for certain groups on June 8, including Turkish Cypriots living in the north but working in the Republic, enclaved Greek Cypriots, and others.

The Republic said that residents of the north crossing for the first time after the three-month-long closure of checkpoints must show proof of having conducted a negative coronavirus test within 72 hours prior to crossing.

On Tuesday, 17 people crossed through to the Republic, eight of which were Turkish Cypriot workers, reports said.

The ‘government’ in the north announced that crossing through all checkpoints without having to spend two weeks in quarantine would come about as of July 1.

Citing public health concerns, the government of the Republic of Cyprus moved to suspend the operation of four crossings on February 28, prior to the outbreak of coronavirus on the island on March 9.

‘Authorities’ in the north then moved to shut down all nine crossings in mid-March.

Though in the period leading up to the resumption of the operation of airports in the Republic officials said checkpoints would also be fully reopened in unison with airports, checkpoints remain shut to the general public despite the process of gradually reopening airports began on June 9, with the first commercial flights flying into the island.

[Kathimerini Cyprus]

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