Substantial steps were taken on Thursday by the leaders of the island’s divided communities toward the reopening of crossing points, with the two agreeing that as a first step, certain groups of people will be allowed to cross through checkpoints as of June 8.
In a telephone conversation on Thursday, President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades and the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community Mustafa Akinci, discussed the matter of crossings, which were shut as part of the island’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a written statement issued by Government Spokesman Kyriakos Koushios, Anastasiades briefed Akinci on a decision involving the gradual lifting of restriction measures at crossings.
Koushios said the two exchanged opinions, and found common ground in the decision to allow certain groups to cross through checkpoints from June 8 as a first stage.
The groups to be allowed through crossing points early next month will be Turkish Cypriots who work or study in the south, as well as Turkish Cypriots who are receiving treatment at hospitals and other medical institutions in government-controlled areas.
Also to be permitted to cross are enclaved Greek Cypriots or Maronites permanently residing in the north.
Further, Turkish Cypriot students will be permitted to cross through the Ledra Palace checkpoint, from where buses will take them to their schools.
In the meantime, Koushios noted, the ability to cross for humanitarian reasons continues to apply.
He added that the Republic will be collecting samples to be checked for the virus at random from people crossing through checkpoints.
The two leaders also agreed on the need for the bicommunal Technical Committee on Health to convene at the earliest date, so that opinions can be exchanged on the matter of the gradual resumption of the operation of checkpoints, with respect to the epidemiological situation that will prevail at the time.