It defies belief that the Christodoulides government boycotted the reception held on Monday by Unficyp to mark the 60th anniversary of its arrival in Cyprus. No representative of the government attended the reception because there was dismay over the UN Special Representative Colin Stewart’s insistence on organising events of a bicommunal nature, that would be attended by the leaders of both communities. It wanted the reception to be attended solely by representatives of the Republic of Cyprus, which was the host state.

The presidency of the republic, believed that any such events held by the UN should secure the consent of the host country, or at least it should be informed about the event, according to a report in Politis. That the government was unhappy was made obvious by the evasiveness of the deputy government spokesman Yiannis Antoniou, when he was asked to say why the government had snubbed the UN’s reception on a morning radio show on Thursday.

Antoniou refused to answer, preferring to say that the Republic had held two events to honour the anniversary of Unficyp’s arrival and adding that, as the host country, it had done everything it should have done. This obviously did not involve a representative of the host country attending the reception held by the peacekeeping force, because representatives of the pseudo-state had also been invited.

This is the type of petty-mindedness the foreign ministry specializes in, always focusing on the procedure while avoiding the substance. Its mission has always been to remind the world that the Republic is the recognized state that will go to great lengths to underline the fact that the regime in the north is not its equal and should not be treated as such by anyone. And when the UN disregards this, the foreign ministry feels it has a duty to show its displeasure practically.

The wisdom of so crudely snubbing the UN, which our government allegedly wants to help persuade the Turkish Cypriots to return to the negotiating table, must be questioned. What had the government hoped to achieve with this indescribable pettiness and disdainful treatment of the UN? Was this the Republic’s way of thanking Unficyp for the 60 years it has been in Cyprus policing the green line, resolving disputes over the buffer zone, and acting as a barrier for the Republic?

Apart from illustrating its ingratitude, proving a point of no practical use or value, at this moment in time, is a very bad decision. It is astonishing that the government chose to jeopardise relations with the UN, which it is relying on to find a formula for the resumption of talks. It is a bizarre way of treating the organization which will play the vital role in efforts to revive the peace process.