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We'll open Lokmaci 'as soon as possible'

President visits buffer zone crossing point and pledges:
We'll open Lokmaci 'as soon as possible'

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 Turkish 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 operational.

"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 the island.

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. 

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