Ever since the Turkish invasion of 1974 and the partition of the island, peace plans have foundered on the opposition of one or other of the communities. However, behind the scenes, a number of initiatives have gone ahead, involving north–south cooperation. The best example of this is the Lefkosia Master Plan. Beginning with a distinctly pragmatic agreement for the construction of a common sewerage system in 1978, it quickly flowered into a more general agreement on a development plan for Lefkosia. In 1981 a “bicommunal multidisciplinary team” was set up to further the plan. Efforts were concentrated on the old city contained within the walls. Neighbourhoods on both sides of the Green Line were designated for restoration, shopping and artisan zones identified and traffic improved. A start was even made on rescuing the many imposing buildings stuck in the Buffer Zone, which have been decaying for nearly forty years. Though the Lefkosia Master Plan has concentrated on a clutch of practical initiatives, it implies that reunification is, in the long term, the only sensible solution for both the city and the island.

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