South’s Speaker of the House calls for Downer’s removal

On Monday, South Cyprus Parliamentary Speaker, Yiannakis Omirou accused Special Advisor on Cyprus, Alexander Downer of having “long lost his objectivity” regarding the Cyprus problem. He said that this had only served to encourage Turkish intransigence and has called for his removal.

The accusation follows a story that Downer had interfered with the appointment of an EU envoy to Cyprus.

Following reports that Downer was opposed to the appointment, the United Nations, in a press release, said that they welcome the participation of the EU in the Cyprus peace negotiations and that the UN was committed to supporting both sides in their efforts to find a lasting political solution to end the division of Cyprus.

The UN in Cyprus said it: “refutes allegations made in the media on 28 October 2013 concerning the existence of a letter by the Special Adviser of the Secretary General in Cyprus, Mr. Alexander Downer, to European Commission President, Mr. José Manuel Barroso,” the Spokesperson of the UN in Cyprus notes that the UN “welcomes the participation of the EU in the Cyprus peace talks.”

“Over the past four years, the UN in Cyprus has benefitted from the regular presence of a Personal Representative of the European Commission President, appointed by Mr. Barroso to assist the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General in Cyprus and his team. Currently, the Personal Representative of Mr. Barroso is Mr. Pieter Van Nuffel of the European Commission’s legal service,” the Spokesperson said.

He added that “the UN in Cyprus considers the dissemination of incorrect information particularly unhelpful at this stage of the talks,” noting that “the resulting speculation constitutes an unwelcome distraction.”

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