Foreign Affairs minister Ioannis Kassoulides said on Monday that Cyprus` Ambassador Andreas Mavroyiannis, who lost the seat of president of the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly, deserved to win.
Mavroyiannis, who lost to his rival Fiji Permanent Representative, Peter Thomson, received a total of 90 votes, while Thompson received 94. The 192 member-states of the General Assembly took part in the vote at the UN headquarters in New York. One-hundred-and eighty-five ballots were found to be valid.
Thompson is expected to assume his new duties in September and in his acceptance speech, he thanked Mavroyiannis for an honourable election race.
Mavroyiannis is expected to return to his post as the negotiator for the Greek Cypriot side in the negotiations to reach a settlement agreement on the Cyprus problem.
“It is sad for anyone to lose by four votes. I believe that Ambassador Andreas Mavroyiannis deserved to win. But these things happen in a democracy,” Kassoulides said.
He added that Cyprus had given “a great battle” and that it was “a very good exercise in diplomacy for Cyprus”.
The foreign affairs ministry said in an announcement that election defeat “did not diminish in any way the serious efforts made by the foreign minister, the ministry, and Mavroyiannis himself towards this goal”.
“It does not diminish the recognition and appreciation the Cypriot candidate enjoys for his years of experience, as demonstrated by the large number of votes he secured,” the foreign ministry said.
It also congratulated Thomson for his victory and wished him every success in his work.
Cyprus’ permanent representative to the UN, Nicos Emiliou, however, was openly bitter that Mavroyiannis had not won.
He said that he and other Cypriot diplomats had been preparing the grounds for two years, organising UN events and arranging for Mavroyiannis to participate in them, but that Mavroyiannis’ duties as negotiator had left him little time to dedicate to his own campaign.
“Ninety votes are definitely a very honorable result, but our expectations were proven wrong given that we had 129 written reassurances from countries promising to vote for us,” Emiliou said.
This however, he said, happened in the past to other countries, far more powerful than Cyprus.
The CNA reported that foreign diplomats were commenting how Cyprus lost many votes from African countries because Thomson, who is the son of the last British governor of the Fiji, was basing his campaign on the position that should Cyprus win, it would mean EU domination of the UN General Assembly.
“What really saddens me is that we didn’t have the entire EU by our side,” Emiliou said.
“The saddest part, is that our co-candidate’s main motto was that he was a rival of the EU. His basic argument was that the current president comes from an EU country, Denmark, and that the next would also go to an EU member. … We would have expected the full support of our partners, which we did not have,” he said.
CNA, citing sources, reported that the European countries that did not vote for Cyprus were the UK, Switzerland, and the Scandinavian countries, except Denmark.
It added that the Palestinian permanent representative was strongly campaigning in favour of Fiji, saying his contacts in Cyprus were “pro-Israel”.