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Putting UN envoys through the wringer

Espen Barth Eide (CNA)

By Spyros Hadjigregoriou

I HAVE read with great sadness and disgust the article of Eleni Theocharous that was published in Phileleftheros on Saturday October 1 entitled ‘Unreliable and dangerous’ in reference to UN Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide.

The article begins: “Mr Eide misleads and misinforms while adopting and highlighting the Turkish positions. He is building his political career on the solution of the Cyprus problem or rather on the dissolution of the Cyprus Republic…”

Mrs Theocharous concludes that there remains no other choice for Mr Eide than to submit his resignation for reasons of principle and if not, then President Nicos Anastasiades should remove him.

Also Helen Chrysostomou wrote in Politis on October 3 that Mr Eide had become a mouthpiece for Turkish positions violating his duties as special adviser

I doubt if Mrs Theocharous and Mrs Chrysostomou had bothered to read the Charter of the United Nations adopted at the end of the Second World War that sought to contribute to the resolving of local conflicts, civil wars, the preservation of regional security and world peace.

To achieve these objectives, the authors of the UN Charter mandated the use of special representatives and advisers of international prestige and scope, with broad knowledge of the region and the problems in specific areas. The job of the special representatives and advisers is to inform the secretary-general on the positions of the conflicting parties.

As I wrote in my book, none of the previous 24 special representatives who agreed to serve in Cyprus came here intending to build their political careers based on the ‘solution of the Cyprus problem’ or rather ‘the dissolution of the Republic’. For the sake of the argument, I mention a few special representatives and advisers appointed by various UN secretaries-general who did not come here for money for the enhancement of their political career but to achieve the goal of solving this Herculean task.

Javier Perez de Cuellar served in Cyprus from 1975-1977 and as UNSG from 1982-1991. He was awarded honours by more than 25 countries

Hugo Gobbi served in Cyprus from 1980-1984 and suggested Morphou be returned to its original legal inhabitants. In his memoirs he wrote that his soul remained in Cyprus.

Joe Clark served in Cyprus from 1993-1996. He was the 16th prime minister of Canada.

Gustave Feissel served in Cyprus from 1993-1998. He was with the UN for 35 years in various economic and political positions.

Elizabeth Spehar served in Cyprus on and off from 2008 until today and has spent 12 years in various missions as director of the American and European Division.

Espen Barth Eide has been assigned as special adviser for Cyprus since 2014. He served as Norway’s foreign minister from 2012-2013 and as its defence minister from 2011-2012. He is a member of the Norwegian Research Institute for International Affairs and served as the Chairman of the Dialogue Centre, and of the Committee for Humanitarian Dialogue and has a distinguished academic and political career.

I would recommend to the two ladies to study the life and work of the previous UN special representatives and advisers who have served in Cyprus. Maybe they would prefer

Solon or even the Prophet Mantis, but they might need some time to come from Hades, unless the two ladies prefer to abandon the mediation efforts of the UN and leave Turkey free to annex Cyprus.

If this is what the two ladies want, let them say it clearly to the UN secretary-general because UNFICYP has been in Cyprus for longer than half a century even though it was initially supposed to be for three months as of March 4, 1964.


Spyros Hadjigregoriou is author of The Facilitators, a look at UN envoys and advisers on Cyprus

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