New thoroughfare to facilitate transport in divided Cyprus (2)

09:50, March 30, 2010      

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The opening of the crossing point had been agreed upon by Christofias and Talat in June 2009, but foot-dragging and paper work put off the implementation until a few days ago, when the UN Development Program signed the contract to commence work.

The project is funded by the Cyprus government, the EU and the United States Agency for International Development.

The United Nations has pushed through the project to give impetus to the peace negotiations in the face of the upcoming Turkish Cypriot vote to elect a new leader, or "president" of the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, recognized only by Turkey.

Current leader Talat faces a strong challenge from nationalist politician Dervis Eroglu.

Talat, considered to be a moderate, said in a recent interview that if Eroglu is elected, the peace talks would come to an end, a prospect which is dreaded by the United Nations and the international community.

Turkey's prospects of joining the EU depends on a successful outcome of efforts to solve the Cyprus problem.

The United Nations hopes that starting work on the crossing point will help boost the chance for Talat's reelection and give impetus to the peace talks.

Christofias and Talat will have an intensive session on Tuesday, the last one in a series which started after UN chief Ban visited Cyprus last January.

The UN has been pushing for a joint communique at the end of the meeting, detailing progress achieved so far.

But even this prospect is in doubt following objections from Greek Cypriot parties. They said a joint communique may consolidate concessions made by the Greek Cypriot community on the issue of power sharing.

Christofias said the issue of a joint statement will be decided upon after he concludes consultations with the parties, which are however scheduled after Tuesday's meeting of the two leaders.

Source: Xinhua
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