Education should be used to bring the people of Cyprus closer, says UN envoy

Education should bring the people of Cyprus closer, said UN Secretary Generals Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide.

He was addressing the International Conference on “Developing a culture of co-operation when teaching and learning history”, organised by the Association for Historical Dialogue & Research (AHDR) last week at the Home for Co-operation in Nicosia.

The conference was held in the framework of the Cyprus Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

In his opening speech, Eide also emphasized the role of civil societies to help the leaders of the two communities invest in education so that it can become a means to bring the two communities closer.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. UN led talks between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities resumed in May 2015 with a view to reunite the island under a federal roof.

The talks were interrupted in mid February by the Turkish Cypriot side, which demands that a decision passed by the Cypriot Parliament relating to a 1950 referendum on union with Greece is revoked, claiming this indicates a shift in the Greek Cypriot sides goal for a federal solution. The amendment provides that there will be a very brief reference to the referendum at schools.

President Anastasiades has described the House decision as wrong and called on the leader of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci, who walked out of the talks, to return to the negotiating table to discuss pending issues with a view to reach a mutually acceptable agreement to reunite the country.

Source: Cyprus News Agency