President visits buffer zone
crossing point and pledges:
We'll open Lokmaci 'as soon as
THE Lokmaci Barricade crossing between the Turkish
and Greek Cypriot sides of the divided capital — closed since 1958 —
will be reopened as soon as possible, President Mehmet Ali Talat
announced this week during a visit to the area.
In the wake
of Turkish Cypriot success in forcing the pace on opening of the
Bostanci crossing in August, Mr Talat was accompanied by senior
political and military figures on Tuesday when he visited the
Lokmaci area, targeted as the next crossing point to open.
In the inspection party were Prime Minister Ferdi
Sabit Soyer, Cabinet ministers and the Commander of the Cyprus
Security Forces, Major General Tevfik Ozkihc.
Mr Talat said the Lokmaci
opening was falling victim to the same Greek Cypriot foot-dragging
that had held up for months progress on the Bostanci crossing, which
although open was still some two months from being fully
"We consider it unfair that the opening of a
crossing point in the Lokmaci area of Lefkosa should be delayed by
similar tactics," he said.
Mr Talat said the opening up of
the border at Lokmaci, in the heart of the capital of Northern
Cyprus, was vital in order to create a stable atmosphere for
contacts between the two sides — in turn, vital for lasting peace on
However, the Greek Cypriots would place every
obstacle in its way, he said, because the Lokmaci opening would
sound the death knell for division in Cyprus.