“The less the UN Special Envoy to Cyprus speaks about the talks, the better,” President Nicos Anastasiades has said in a stinging attack against Espen Barth Eide.
He also accused Eide of siding with the Turkish Cypriots after his recent interview with reporters about the prospects of the Cyprus negotiations.
Anastasiades went on to say that Eide needs to understand that “with these statements or such an intimidation, we achieve the opposite results,” before adding that it had always been agreed that the talks were “a Cypriot-owned dialogue and that the agreement was not to have arbitration or timetables”.
He added: “The less said on this matter, particularly from Mr Eide, the better”.
Anastasiades was reacting to comments Eide made last week. The UN Envoy said that the UN may be willing to offer alternative proposals on the Cyprus talks if a settlement isn’t reached. He also urged for a speedy conclusion to the talks given the current instability in the region with regards to the offshore drilling agreements and the threats from Turkey.
President Anastasiades was also displeased about Eide’s remarks in reference to next year’s presidential elections in the South.
“He should have learned from his predecessors – who had caused significant problems in one or the other community – that particular care is required. The Cyprus problem is a delicate matter.”
“Mr Eide is not paying attention to the threats against the Republic of Cyprus and the climate of mistrust that is caused by the various navtex [issued by Turkey], and the presence of ‘Barbaros’ [Turkish exploration vessel accused by Cyprus of violating its waters].”
Anastasiades went on to say that he had not walked away from settlement talks “even when there was a real threat against the sovereignty and territorial integrity” of his government.
Although he did not want to enter into a war of words, Anastasiades said, “The UN Secretary General needs to know that the negotiations are being conducted under threats. This is unthinkable and a violation of international law. The special advisor needs to be preoccupied with this issue and not setting a new date for an international conference.”
He added: “He is in a hurry, as he was in the past. And I had warned him that this will only bring about disappointment among Greek Cypriots.”
Anastasiades and Akinci have resumed negotiations following a cooling off in relations between the two sides and will meet again on May 11 and then on May 17.
A controversial bill to commemorate Enosis in schools in the South, a move to block Greek Orthodox Church mass in the north during Easter to take place, with Anastasiades’ government and Turkey currently at loggerheads over gas exploration and drilling rights offshore Cyprus, all threaten to bring the negotiations to a halt.