The Guardian April 30, 2003

A crack in the dividing wall

Cyprus has been divided ever since July 1974, with 37 per cent of its 
territory under Turkish occupation, and with the two communities living 
virtually divided by an artificial wall. Contact has been limited and at 
the arbitrary control of the occupation authorities.

The scrupulous and long work of AKEL has made rapprochement between the two 
communities a policy accepted by all Greek Cypriot political parties and by 
the opposition Turkish Cypriot forces, as well as and this is very 
important  by the people of Cyprus.

Finding himself in a corner and under pressure from the part of the Turkish 
Cypriots following the Copenhagen decision on Cyprus and the signing of the 
Accession Treaty of Cyprus to the EU on April 16, the Turkish Cypriot 
leader in a somehow unexpected move announced that movement between the two 
sides would be allowed as of April 23.

On that day alone over 2000 Turkish Cypriots visited the free areas having 
to produce only an ID or other information proving they are Cypriots.

Around 1500 Greek Cypriots went to the occupied North.

The same picture, only on a larger scale was seen on the next day, with 
people waiting to cross at three different checkpoints.

People could see the rest of their country after almost 30 years or even 
for the first time in their lives in the case of the youth.

People talking to journalists make it very clear that they want a solution, 
they want to live together, they want peace.

In a press release issued on April 24, AKEL (the communist party) welcomed 
the meeting up of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.

"We consider that yesterday was a day that justified the struggles of AKEL 
and of all those who have struggled and continue struggling for 
rapprochement considering it a cornerstone in the efforts to achieve a 
solution as well as in making it viable", the AKEL statement said.

"We hope that Denktash's (the Turkish Cypriot leader) move will not prove a 
tactical one, of a temporary character and aiming at serving expediencies.

"AKL considers that the Government's support measures that are going to 
serve a broad spectrum of needs of our Turkish Cypriot compatriots, should 
be announced the soonest possible.

"AKEL welcomes the Government's readiness to undertake all the advisable 
measures that will facilitate the movement of our Turkish Cypriot 
compatriots in the free areas.

"At the same time it calls on Rauf Denktash to withdraw the control 
measures which he has announced, i.e. the presentation of passports (from 
the part of Greek Cypriots) and the granting of entrance permit, in order 
to facilitate Greek Cypriots to go to their ancestral homes."

AKEL said that the meeting up of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots has 
made a crack in the dividing wall.

"We, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, have to intensify our efforts in 
order to fully demolish the dividing wall and achieve a just, functional 
and viable solution that will reunify our people and country", the AKEL 
statement concluded.

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