President Nicos Anastasiades has voiced displeasure over the UN Secretary-General’s handling of the aftermath of a three-way meeting with the Turkish Cypriot leader in New York last week and is in contact with the UN over the matter, particularly the non-announcement of a new special envoy for Cyprus.
In an interview with CyBC aired on Monday evening, Anastasiades described Antonio Guterres’ stance as “adroit neutrality.”
According to Nicosia, during the September 27 meeting Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar grudgingly agreed to the appointment by the UN of a special envoy for Cyprus, replacing Jane Holl Lute.
A routine announcement regarding the new envoy was expected to follow.
But a week later, Guterres has yet to issue a statement on the matter.
The Greek Cypriot side believes this to be the result of Tatar having backtracked on the envoy issue since the September 27 meeting.
“Shouldn’t the Secretary-General convey the truth?” Anastasiades asked during the broadcast.
Asked why he thought the UN chief has not commented, the president said: “Because he feels that in this way he would be in conflict with one of the two sides, would presumably lose their trust and there is a possibility that he would not be able to play his role.
“I don’t believe that dealing with matters with such an adroit neutrality is correct.”
He added: “What causes displeasure, is that not issuing a statement as a result of [Tatar’s] backtracking should not have prevented the Secretary-General to say what his position and decision is.
“It is not a matter of compromise, it is a matter of the Secretary-General acting within the scope of his mandate.”
On Tuesday, and asked by reporters about this, government spokesman Marios Pelekanos replied that Nicosia is “in contact” with the United Nations on the matter.
“Some consultations are ongoing with the United Nations,” he said adding: “Our side expects from the Secretary General to go ahead with what was agreed during the informal lunch, that is to say, the appointment of a special envoy.”
In the same interview with CyBC, and responding to a question as to whether the Cyprus issue was now deadlocked, Anastasiades spoke of “dangerous stagnation.”
This state of affairs, he added, might consolidate the facts on the ground.
“Undoubtedly that would be the worst outcome.”
Later in the day, spokesman of the UN secretary-general Stephane Dujarric, called to comment on Anastasiades’ statement, said the UN continues to work with the leaders of the two communities on the island to move the Cyprus issue forward in a positive direction.
“It has been a long-standing issue that the UN has been involved in, and he will continue to work in that direction, in very good faith”, said Dujarric.
Replying to a journalist’s question, why the SG changed his mind for the special envoy, Dujarric that he is not aware of Guterres changing his decision since he never announced a decision in the first place.
In a scathing statement on Tuesday, main opposition Akel accused Anastasiades of engaging in mental gymnastics and of toying with “erratic” positions on the Cyprus issue, such as his recent proposal for a return to the 1960 constitution.
This, Akel said, negated the convergences reached in 2017 on both the domestic and external/security aspects of the Cyprus problem.
The party called on Anastasiades to desist from “experimenting.”
It also noted that the president’s public critique of the UN chief, and at such a critical juncture, “causes serious concern.”
Hitting back at Akel, deputy government spokesperson Niovi Parisinou said the party “must stop giving an alibi to the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot sides, whose proposals lie entirely outside the UN framework and the mandate of the Secretary-General.”
She went on to ask, rhetorically, what Akel had done while they held power, and why they did not implement their proposals then.
“Why did they not do it? What prevented them, if not Turkish intransigence?”