By Nathan Morley
In this seemingly never-ending dispute, the opening of two new border crossings marks a rare moment of harmony.
In Dherynia, on the east coast, streams of people moved across the divide in both directions moments after the checkpoint opened at midday. One of the first to cross was a Turkish Cypriot, carrying a small Olive branch.
“I’m really happy to be here to see we are going to be united again…I hope there will be more and more borders to be opened, we want to open all the borders,” he said.
Another crossing opened Lefka or Aplici in the north-west at the same moment.
Commentators believe the openings of the new crossings may help ease tensions between the two communities after the latest peace talks fell apart in July last year.
The UN seems hopeful that negotiations between President Nicos Anastasiades, who heads the internationally recognized Greek-Cypriot government and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci will resume soon.
“These crossing points will play an important role in helping to increase people to people contacts, contributing to build much-needed trust and confidence between the communities on the island,” said Elizabeth Spehar, the UN special representative in Nicosia,
Cyprus has been one of the most troublesome problems ever faced by the United Nations.
This year the island marked 44-years of division, but the U.N.’s point of view remains that an agreement is possible given sufficient political will.