Cyprus Mail

Leaders cancel participation in UN event (update 3)

Elizabeth Spehar with the two leaders at a past reception

Unficyp Elisabeth Spehar said on Tuesday the failure to return to Cyprus talks after two and a half years makes the whole peace process more difficult.

She added that 2019 has shown that while the status quo remains, this is not static and there are significant changes on and around the island, which could make a solution more difficult as time goes on.

Referring to the meeting between the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres with President Nicos Anstasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci in Berlin on November 25, Spehar said it “underscored the United Nations’ continued commitment at the highest level to support both sides in their efforts to reach a settlement of the Cyprus issue through negotiations”.

She was speaking at an event at Ledra Palace to mark the end of the year’s activities for the UN in Cyprus, to which both Anastasiades and Akinci cancelled their appearance, citing their schedules.

Anastasiades announced in the morning he was not going to attend Tuesday evening’s reception due to a busy schedule, despite saying he was going on Monday.

He was followed shortly afterwards by Akinci whose office issued an announcement saying he was not participating because of a change in his schedule.

Government spokesman Kyriacos Koushios sought to clarify the issue later, saying Anastasiades cancelled after he was informed that Akinci was not going.

In a written statement, the spokesman said Anastasiades had agreed to go initially despite his busy schedule, after he had been informed that Akinci was going.

On Tuesday morning however, after the presidency was informed that Akinci was not going because of other obligations, Anastasiades decided to cancel so that he cοuld fulfill his own busy agenda, Koushios said.

On Monday, it was announced that both leaders would be attending along with politicians, diplomats, and other personalities from both communities.


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