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Government wants UN to set record straight in reports

Cyprus will respond in writing to controversial comments made in advance copies of two UN reports to ensure the final draft “records the actual state of affairs”, government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said on Monday.

One of the reports concerned the renewal of UNFICYP’s mandate and the other the UN Secretary General’s Good Offices Mission, a record of progress on the Cyprus negotiations.

There were a number of references in the reports to matters that could and did anger quarters in Cyprus, specifically where UNSG Ban Ki-moon said the refusal of an offer for help from the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey to assist with the Solea fires last month was a “missed opportunity” for collaboration. Ban also urged that agreed confidence building measures be implemented without further delay.

A displeased President Nicos Anastasiades on Sunday issued a note of caution to “those who advise” the UN Secretary General when it comes to the information he is provided with for his reports on Cyprus.

Christodoulides said on Monday the government had sent a letter through Cyprus’ Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, while demarches, both political and technocratic, had also been made in Nicosia, particularly with regard to the Solea fire.

“The issue of the description of events, such as fires, falls outside the remit of the United Nations,” said Christodoulides.

“Meetings were held with the United Nations precisely so that no such references, such as that of the fire, were included, which on the one hand does not correspond to reality and, on the other had created problems in the negotiations,” he added.

Christodoulides made it clear that the report – on UNFICYP – that mentions the fires had not been prepared by Ban’s Special Adviser for Cyprus Espen Barth Eide who compiles the Good Offices report.

“It is not a responsibility of Mr Eide. But I repeat, we will see what is written in both reports together. Our position is very clear that they should record the actual state of affairs,” the spokesman added.

The UNFICYP report should be a simple recording of events without making judgements, Christodoulides said. He added that the two reports could not be considered official UN documents until adopted by the Security Council.

Anastasiades was clearly not pleased on Sunday.

He said all efforts of the Greek Cypriot side to achieve a good climate in the negotiations should be listed in the report, “whether relating to unilateral confidence-building measures taken, or even the request to the EU to introduce Turkish as an official language or a number of other actions”.

He added that there should be comprehensive information provided to the UNSG, so that all facts were recorded. Creating the image of a biased stance of the UNSG against one or the other community, only “pollutes the climate of the negotiations”, he said.

Referring indirectly to the Solea comment, he said, any actions aimed at undermining the Republic could not be described as a “missed opportunity”. When Turkey offered to assist with the fires, Anastasiades at the time said they were welcome to join the international effort underway, which would have required landing aircraft at Larnaca. Turkey subsequently withdrew its offer.

“Any attempt aiming at undermining the Republic of Cyprus or upgrading the illegal regime, I do not think constitutes a missed opportunity,” Anastasiades said.  “I hope that the final report will reflect events properly.”

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