Pope Francis to Cyprus: ‘Europe should leave behind old walls of fear’

Pope Francis traveled Friday to Cyprus, where he urged Europe to “leave behind old walls of fear.” “Together, Europe should leave behind old walls of fear and build walls of love,” the pontiff said…

Pope Francis to Cyprus: ‘Europe should leave behind old walls of fear’

Pope Francis traveled Friday to Cyprus, where he urged Europe to “leave behind old walls of fear.”

“Together, Europe should leave behind old walls of fear and build walls of love,” the pontiff said during a joint news conference with President Nicos Anastasiades.

As Francis’ flight touched down, images from the region captured the continuing conflict between the Greek- and Turkish-speaking parts of the island nation.

The pope’s trip comes more than four decades after United Nations-backed peace talks ended in failure and Cyprus reverted to a state of war.

Anastasiades, who is slated to take office in January, said he had encouraged the pope to visit to express his support and to “influence Europe’s thinking.”

Anastasiades said the visit was a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to tell the world there are two Cypriot communities.

“We have to leave behind the past and the past is final,” he said.

The current government recently initiated political negotiations toward reaching a settlement for a multi-ethnic, federation-like agreement by the spring of 2020.

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