Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, calling on the Greek Cypriot side to accelerate the opening of crossing points, contradict reality on the ground, Greek Cypriot head of the Bicommunal Technical Committee on Crossings, Sotos Zackheos, said Tuesday.
Asked by CNA to comment on Akinci’s statements, made during an onsite visit in Apliki last Saturday, Zackheos said that “it is the Turkish Cypriot side that delayed the resolution of this problem for the past 3 years, despite the goodwill of our side”.
He also said that 15 days ago, President Nicos Anastasiades gave clear instructions to complete works for the opening of crossings within 3 months. The United Nations and the Turkish Cypriot side were also informed about this development, he added.
“It is very unfair, that those who are responsible for delaying the opening of crossings over the past 3 years to resort to such propaganda methods,” Zackheos said.
“We are ready to continue in good spirit, in order to find a solution"
Instead of working in favour of a climate that is conducive for the resumption of peace talks “unfortunately we have this kind of statements from Mr Akinci” he added.
“We are ready to continue in good spirit, in order to find a solution,” he said while noting that delays continue due to the Turkish Cypriot side.
To improve the climate of trust President and Akinci agreed that a crossing is opened at Dherynia in the east and Lefka-Apliki in the northwest - that was nearly three years ago.
Speaking about delays in the opening of the crossing point in Dherynia, Zackheos said that more than a year was lost in talks, aiming to persuade the Turkish side to remove an outpost of the Turkish army blocking the way.
“There were contacts with the permanent members of the Security Council in order to convince [the Turkish side] that the Turkish outpost must go,” he said. In the end, instead of demolishing the construction, Turkey evacuated the outpost and built a second one a few meters away, he noted.
With regard to Apliki-Lefka, Zackheos said that the beginning of construction works within the bufferzone was significantly delayed, bit this was not due to the Greek Cypriot side.
He noted that two months ago, the Greek Cypriot side offered to complete the construction of this part of the crossing, and pledged to employ both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.
“We persisted as recently as last week, but unfortunately the Turkish Cypriots rejected it,” he concluded.