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Cyprus Proposes Moves to Ease Tensions - 2004-07-16


The Cyprus government has proposed a military pullback on both sides of the Green Line that has divided the Mediterranean island for 30 years.

The Greek Cypriot government has presented a series of proposals for military moves and other confidence-building measures to ease relations with the Turkish Cypriot community on the island.

The proposals are also aimed at pleasing the United Nations and the European Union, after Greek Cypriots voted 'no' in a referendum to reunite the divided island.

Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides told a news conference that the measures include opening additional crossing points along the Green Line, and an operation to remove vast minefields, which were laid after the Turkish invasion in 1974.

Mr. Chrysostomides said the government has proposed that Greek Cypriot military operations end along the dividing line in Nicosia and Famagusta. The implementation of the new measures depends on acceptance and reciprocal action from the Turkish side.

Additional measures for the export of goods from the Turkish Cypriot zone are expected to follow. Last week, the United States announced that it would give the Turkish Cypriots $30 million to ease their economic isolation.

The European Commission has also pledged aid and assistance to the Turkish-controlled part of Cyprus, which is home to 200,000 people.

The announcement by the Greek Cypriots comes on the 30th anniversary of the Greek-backed Cyprus coup that sparked the Turkish invasion of the island in 1974. Since then, the Turkish army has had control of 37 percent of the island.

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