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Assurances given that Solea fire will be scrubbed from UNFICYP report (Updated: leaders discuss economy)

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The government has reportedly received assurances that the references to the recent Solea fires will be scrubbed from the final draft of an upcoming report on UNFICYP, the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus.

Nicos Emiliou, Cyprus’ permanent representative at the United Nations in New York, received the assurances during a meeting late on Monday with Jeffrey Feltman, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, and Edmond Mulet, the Chief of Staff to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

According to the Cyprus News Agency, Emiliou explained to the UN officials the points in the advance copy of the UNFICYP report which Cyprus objects to, particularly the references to the recent fires in Solea.

Emiliou is said to have pointed out moreover that references to such events are not part of UNFICYP’s remit.

The UN officials, said the news agency, appeared to understand the Cypriot government’s sensitivities, promising that the contentious references would be removed from the final draft, in order to “preserve the good climate in the [peace] talks.”

The government was particularly displeased at Ban’s reference that Cyprus’ 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 cooperation.

Commenting indirectly on this, President Nicos Anastasiades said earlier that any actions aimed at undermining the Republic could not be described as a missed opportunity.

When Turkey had 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.

Over the weekend, demarches were also made to Elizabeth Spehar, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Cyprus and head of UNFICYP.

Earlier, the government spokesman 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.

According to the UN Security Council’s agenda as it has been agreed, on July 20 the countries who participate in UNFICYP will be briefed, likely by Elizabeth Spehar.

The Council will hold an open meeting on July 26 during which it is expected to adopt a resolution for UNFICYP.
UNFICYP, comprising some 1,000 staff, arrived in Cyprus in March 1964, after intercommunal fighting broke out on the island. It is one of the longest serving UN peacekeeping forces.

Speaking after his meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafs Akinci on Tuesday, President Nicos Anastasiades said Nicosia had made representations on the matter and called for patience until the final report is out.

The president expressed his satisfaction with Tuesday’s talks in which the main subjects discussed were the economy and the EU.

“There is a wider understanding that there must be absolute convergence and to this end the Technical Committees have been ordered to address these issues to move forward in the debate. There is broad mutual understanding, but we should reach concrete results now, in order to find convergences. I would not say that I am not optimistic this can be reached.”

Anatasiades and Akinci accompanied by negotiators Andreas Mavroyiannis and Ozdil Nami and the heads of the working group on the economy discussed convergences achieved so far on the economy in the three-hour meeting.

Anastasiades said preliminary findings by reports carried out by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund on the economic aspects of a Cyprus settlement would be discussed at a later stage. The final reports are expected to be submitted by early October.


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