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Cyprus

Opposition parties accused Ban of interfering in internal affairs

The fires in Solea, now a political hot potato

Opposition parties on Saturday were angered by the latest report by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Cyprus, particularly the segment where he said the failure to cooperate of the two sides to cooperate on the Solea fires last month was a missed opportunity for collaboration.

The parties accused Ban of trying to interfere in internal affairs.

Initially during the fire, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci had offered to send firefighters but was told by President Nicos Anastasiades that it was not necessary. Days later as the fires continued to rage, Turkey offered help, which it later withdrew when Anastasiades said it would have to join as part of the international effort underway at the time. This would mean its firefighting aircraft landing at Larnaca. Ankara refused.

EDEK on Saturday talked of “double standards” on the part of the UNSG, and argued that Ban “has strayed away from his mandate as to the Cyprus Problem”.

“In an unprecedented intervention in the internal affairs of the Republic of Cyprus, he basically scolds the President for his stance not to give in to Turkish demands to supposedly offer help to extinguish the Solea fire,” EDEK said.

He didn’t however, the party said, have a similar attitude when Akinci had refused the help of the RoC in the Famagusta fires some time previously. “Mr. Ban Ki-moon did not speak of a ‘missed opportunity’ then,” EDEK added.

The Citizens’ Alliance said that following the two leaders’ assurance of “the supposed positive climate” of the negotiation talks, “he [Ban] is encouraged to openly interfere in the internal affairs of the Republic as with the case of the recent fire, distorting the truth”.

It added that Ban “has confused his role”, which the party said was supposed to be “intermediary and impartial”.

The Greens too, said that Ban keeps “a one-sided outlook at the expense of the RoC”.

Claiming that Anastasiades rejected the proposal of Akinci for help during the Solea fires, the party said, “is a distortion of the truth”. “

Instead of condemning Turkey which tried to reap political benefits and advantages through the ecological destruction and human suffering, Ban implicitly suggests that it was President Anastasiades who refused the offer of assistance,” the Greens said.

They added that Ban never apologised for the recent Istanbul incident, when Akinci was invited to participate in a forum where heads of state were to attend, including Anastasiades. At the time, the UN said nothing, the party added.

Main opposition party AKEL took a softer stance saying it had been expected that the report “would be more procedural and that there would be no surprises”. It added that “the most important point” of the report was Ban’s call to the two leaders to “double their efforts” towards reaching a settlement within 2016.

“Our goal should be reaching a solution as soon as possible, and for this to happen, it is necessary for everyone to remain committed to the principles and the agreed framework,” AKEL said.

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