Cyprus Mail

UN deny discontent with Greek foreign minister (updated)

Greek Foreign Minister Nicos Kotzias with former United Nations Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias has successfully promoted the strategy drafted by Greece and Cyprus ensuring the start of talks on security and guarantees, Greece’s government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said on Tuesday.

Tzanakopoulos said that comments about the approach of the Greek delegation to the Geneva conference on Cyprus last week “serve those in Greece and abroad who do not favour a just and viable settlement of the Cyprus problem”.

The Greek government, he said, united will continue to work hard in close coordination and communication with the Cypriot authorities in order to address the pending issues.

Taking questions from journalists, Tzanakopoulos said that during his telephone conversation with UNSG Antonio Guterres, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras reiterated that these kind of reports aim to undermine the efforts of the governments of Greece and Cyprus for a just and viable solution.

Earlier in the day deputy spokesman for Guterres, Farhan Haq said the UN continue to hope that there will be an agreement in Cyprus and want to make sure that this is a lasting one.

“We continue to hope that there will be an agreement. Obviously, we want to make sure this is a lasting and sustainable agreement, and we’ll work in good faith with all the various sides”, Haq stressed.

Replying to a question, he dismissed information over reports of discontent on behalf of the UNSG regarding Kotzias.

“That’s not accurate. What I would say is the Secretary-General has been dealing and will continue to deal with all the various sides regarding this. You will have seen what the Secretary-General said last week, and I would just refer you back to the text of what he said”, he replied.

Kotzias had been blamed for the premature ending of the conference on Cyprus last week.

The Geneva conference had been expected to run for at least a couple of days to give the negotiators a chance to dig into the issue, with the aim of ending with a broad political agreement on how to ensure security once Cyprus is reunified.

Instead, it broke off late on Thursday, after Kotzias unexpectedly announced to the media and to the surprise of the other participants, that discussions would continue but only on a technical level between high-level civil servants from all sides on January 23. This was later brought forward to Wednesday.

Meanwhile, according to diplomatic sources, by Thursday, Britain is expected to present to the other permanent members of the UN Security Council the draft resolution for the renewal of the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).

On Friday, UNSG’s Special Representative in Cyprus Elizabeth Spehar will inform the countries participating in UNFICYP, while on Monday, Spehar and UNSG’s Special Adviser for Cyprus Espen Barth Eide will inform the members of the UNSC in a closed session about the UNSG`s good mission in Cyprus, the Geneva talks and preparations for the post – solution era.’

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