The various sides of Cypriot politics issued reactions on Saturday to Friday evening’s announcement of Colombian diplomat Maria Angela Holguin Cuellar as United Nations Secretary-general Antonio Guterres’ personal envoy in Cyprus.

Speaking at Epiphany celebrations in Paphos, Government Spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis said, “we consider and welcome [this] as a very positive development.”

He added that “from the first moment of assuming his duties, President Nikos Christodoulides had insisted on the appointment of an envoy as soon as possible, and that the envoy should make contacts with both sides to create the conditions for the resumption of negotiations.”

“We are entering this new period with this very important, with a sincere political will to contribute constructively, to undertake other initiatives … so as to create the conditions for the immediate resumption of negotiations from the point at which they have been interrupted,” he said.

He added that “the aim, of course, [is] a sustainable and permanent solution to the Cyprus problem based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality.”

Earlier, House President Annita Demetriou had described the move as “undoubtedly a positive step, which should be taken advantage of with seriousness and determination.”

She called on the sides to “contribute constructively to the search for common ground, for the resumption of a meaningful dialogue, based on the agreed framework of a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality.”

Meanwhile, despite ostensibly having achieved their goal of having Guterres appoint a “personal envoy” rather than a “special envoy” while the Republic recommended the appointment of the latter, those in leadership positions in the north seemed less enthusiastic about the appointment.

In a comment on a social media post written by journalist Ulas Baris about how a reluctance on the part of Turkish Cypriot Leader Ersin Tatar may lead to the UN no longer “tolerating this behaviour,” the north’s ‘transport minister’ called into question the UN’s impartiality.

“The UN will definitely punish us. For example, the Security Council issued a decision to prevent us from being recognised. For example, it paves the way for embargoes. God forbid, they put a barrier on the road to block the road we are making to Pyla.”

“The worst part is how they allow the Greek Cypriots to build houses in the buffer zone to stop the road from being built. None of this is Tatar’s work, and yet he is the one who is going to sour our currently wonderful relations with the impartial UN. What a shame,” he said.

Arikli’s comment on social media came subsequent to a cool reaction to the news by Ersin Tatar on Friday.

He had said he “will accept” the appointment of Cuellar, adding that he will do so “within the framework of the previously agreed upon conditions, and will hold consultations with this understanding.”

He added that he had demanded that Cuellar’s period of work would not exceed six months, and that “her sole duty would be to investigate whether there is common ground between the two sides, to move on to a new and official process.”

“A new and official negotiation process can only be begun by confirming the inherent rights of the Turkish Cypriot people, namely their sovereign equality and equal international status,” he said.

At the same time Cyprus Mail sources within Ersin Tatar’s camp had given indications of a less than joyous mood on Friday evening.

This came in contrast to a statement released by Nikos Christodoulides at the same time, who said he “welcomes” the appointment “with satisfaction”.

He added that he “remains determined to continue working with a clear political will, both for the resumption of talks on the agreed basis and for concluding the talks and finding a solution to the Cyprus problem, on the basis of UN resolutions, and the authorities and values of the European Union.”