Downer visit postponed by two days

UN Special Adviser on Cyprus, Alexander Downer, has postponed his scheduled visit to Cyprus for two days.

UNFICYP spokesperson Michel Bonnardeaux told CNA on Monday that Downer will arrive on Wednesday instead having postponed his visit by two days for personal reasons.

Downer, who was expected to begin a new round of contacts on the island on Monday in an effort to bridge the gap between the two sides, following recent rejections in turn, by both sides, over a repeatedly revised joint declaration intended to re-open the peace talks, is expected to reschedule his meetings with representatives and leaders on both sides. The UN diplomat was scheduled to meet Presidents Anastasiades and Eroglu this afternoon.

Meanwhile, speaking in an interview with Greek Cypriot daily, ‘Politis’ President Anastasiades warned that failure to solve the Cyprus problem could lead to the country being permanently divided.

Anastasiades added that this was the reason for his insistence on a clearly defined and mutually agreed opening statement. He said talks should not resume just because one side or the other is scared it will be blamed for the impasse.

He also expressed disappointment over what he described as the “non-objective” stance of mediators, including that of Special Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer.

Repeated UN-led efforts over the past four decades to achieve a political solution have so far failed. The latest effort to resume the stalled peace talks began last September, led by Presidents Eroglu and Anastasiades.

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