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Eide attempts to defuse Enosis Day debacle

15 February 2017

UN Special Envoy to Cyprus Espen Barth Eide met with President Nicos Anastasiades this morning, ahead of a separate meeting with President Mustafa Akinci in an attempt to defuse the furore created by the controversial vote by the South Cyprus parliament on Enosis Day.

The bill essentially calls for secondary school pupils to honour the anniversary of the 1950 Enosis (union of Cyprus with mainland Greece) Referendum, which is already part of the history curriculum.

The event caused the cancellation on Tuesday of a meeting between the two chief negotiators in the Cyprus talks, Ozdil Nami and Andreas Mavroyiannis.

If the Greek Cypriot sides takes no steps, then there is no meaning for negotiations”, Akinci said on Monday, noting that the only topic for discussion with President Anastasiades on Thursday, will be the outcome of the vote taken by the south’s parliament, which was proposed by far-right party ELAM.

President Nicos Anastasiades issued a written statement stating that there was no question of the Greek Cypriot side’s sincerity regarding the Cyprus negotiations.

The Turkish Cypriots were also accused of distorting the position of the Greek Cypriot side by the Greek Cypriot National Council.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry condemned comments by President Nicos Anastasiades in which he referred to the controversial Enosis Day vote in parliament as a “simple reference to a historical fact”.

The ministry described Anastasiades’ attempted to play down the vote by MPs as “meaningless and unacceptable” before going on to demand that Greek Cypriots adjust their “mentality” when it comes to accepting Turkish Cypriots as “co-owners of the island”.

Cyprus Mail reports that Disy leader Averof Neophytou conceded on Tuesday that the south’s parliament’s approval of an amendment to mark the 1950 pro-Enosis plebiscite in schools was “untimely”.

Speaking at a news conference at the party’s headquarters in Nicosia, he said it was untimely because 67 years had elapsed since the plebiscite, the amendment concerned a brief reference to the issue in schools, and in any case, the struggle for Enosis was already celebrated as a national holiday and commemorated in annual church services.

Cyprus Weekly, Cyprus Mail

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