President Nicos Anastasiades is expected to send to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres a letter which will mainly address the threats posed by Turkey but also the unhelpful stance of the UN envoy Espen Barth Eide, the South’s government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said on Monday.
Anastasiades was critical of Eide for being in a rush, for taking one side’s positions at the expense of the other, and for ignoring Turkish threats to [South] Cyprus’s energy plans.
“The letter to the UN Secretary-General will mainly address the threats posed by Turkey,” Christodoulides told Cybc. “In this context, reference will be made to Mr Eide’s statements. Let’s be realistic, 27 UN special advisers have passed through during the history of the Cyprus issue. No one was completely satisfied with all of the 27. What is important is to set up the framework of the special adviser, where criticism is needed and so that the mistakes of the past are not repeated like in 2004, with our own consent, which led to the well-known results.”
The spokesman was referring to UN bridging gaps during the Annan plan negotiations which was rejected in referendum by Greek Cypriots who saw the UN proposals as outside interference.
“We are in a crucial phase of the negotiations and we see the UN Secretary-General’s special adviser adopting in his statements the same intimidation we hear daily from the Turkish side,” said Christodoulides.
“We know that negotiations are not being conducted in a particularly good climate. Instead, they are conducted in a climate that cannot in fact produce results.”
He said Eide, instead of criticising the daily threats by Turkish officials, “basically invokes them to indirectly criticise the Republic of Cyprus’s energy plans”.
Instead of criticising the threats that could lead to a crisis and the termination of negotiations, he said the UN envoy was using them to publicly to exert pressure on the Greek Cypriot side.
“No one can view this approach as constructive,” the spokesman said. “Those who are not critical are responsible because in fact, if we do not criticise, we encourage such actions.”
Christodoulides said the Greek Cypriot side had also seen Eide’s statements on “a strengthened role for the UN”, which he said was something Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci was asking for and which Eide agrees with.
“This has already been discussed and it is clear that there is no such prospect,” said the spokesman.
He said even the UN Secretary-General had clarified that the UN has not declared that it should have such a role. while Eide appeared to be encouraging it.
“We are in a critical juncture. We have critical and sensitive issues to discuss and the climate is not the best because of Turkey’s actions,” he said.
He added however that the president remains at the negotiating table because the Greek Cypriot side wants to see progress. But Eide’s statements were not helpful.
“The role of the UN is clear and the SG has made it clear that the UN does not claim a role of arbitration. But we see that the special advisor adopts a different line. Threats are invoked to the implementation of the Republic of Cyprus’s energy plans or in view of the presidential elections to be held in 2018.”
Asked about the new ideas that Eide is soon to convey from Guterres, Christodoulides said from the information the government has, there is nothing specific on matters of substance.