A system to to link mobile telephony across the island should be ready at the beginning of July, Fikri Toros, chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce has said.
There was agreement between the two sides to enable mobile telephony across the island as a confidence-building measure.
Speaking to Turkish Cypriot newspaper ‘Havadis’, Toros explained how the system will work and said: “First a message will be seen on the user’s mobile screen. It will say that ‘you have entered into the field of this or that operator, do you want to connect?’ This will be optional. You will press the ‘yes’ or the ‘no’ button. After you are connected, you will be able to use your telephone using the network of the operator to which you have been connected”.
“We will clarify this issue after completing some legal procedures”, he explained adding that the operators in the TRNC will continue to use the “90” international code, because the issue of scrapping this code could only come onto the agenda when a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem is agreed.
He said that there will be an interconnection between the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriot operators via base stations.
Toros noted that great progress has been also achieved on the issue of the connection of the electricity grids, adding that the chairmen of the two networks met and are currently carrying out the necessary technical preparations. “According to information I acquired yesterday, the preparations are at the final stage”, he said.
Pointing out that problems exist as regards the marketing of the imported goods all over the island, Toros noted that in order to solve this issue, they have developed some projects such as the opening of a joint market place in the buffer zone. He said that they have received the necessary political permission for doing this and added that this project will come onto the agenda within the forthcoming weeks.
Toros said that the obstacle on the issue of commercial vehicles from the TRNC crossing over to the South is at the point of partially being lifted. He added: “We have initiatives for the heavy tonnage vehicles passing to the south and we hope that they will be positively concluded, but we could not achieve any progress as regards the vehicles carrying passengers, because of the political pressure in the south”.
Moreover, Toros argued that the Greek Cypriots view prospect of the water which will be transported from Turkey to the TRNC via undersea pipeline as an opportunity for the agricultural sector in the South.
He said that interest had been expressed by the South, explaining that there is no water problem in the South but the water is expensive. He noted, however, that this is not an issue which is included in the framework of the cooperation of the two chambers, as it is a political one.