Greek and Turkish Cypriots on Thursday pulled down barricades that have separated them for half a century, reopening Ledra Street, a potent symbol of Cyprus's ethnic partition. The highly symbolic gesture comes as the two communities prepare talks to end the Mediterranean island's division.
Leaders of Cyprus's Greek and Turkish communities agreed on Friday to relaunch reunification talks and to open a barricaded street in Nicosia that symbolises the island's division. It was the first meeting between Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat since Christofias was elected to the Cypriot presidency last month.
Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders may soon erase the most potent symbol of the island's division, by reopening a bullet-pocked crossing between the two sides closed for nearly half a century. Hopes of ending decades of estrangement were revived after last month's election of Cyprus President Demetris Christofias.
Greek Cypriots razed to the ground a symbol of Cyprus's decades-old division running through the heart of the capital Nicosia and challenged Turkey to respond by withdrawing its troops from the area. Demolition work on a concrete barrier in Nicosia's Ledra Street ceased by dawn on Friday, exposing a corridor of crumbling buildings untouched for decades.