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President Anastasiades accuses UN envoy of adopting unilateral positions

President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades expressed on Sunday his regret over the fact that the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General on Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide, appears to adopt positions expressed from one side in Cyprus, without listening first.

The President was speaking on the sidelines of a charity basketball game, in Nicosia. Invited to comment on recent statements by Eide, he noted that it has been said repeatedly that this is a Cypriot-owned dialogue, and that the agreement was not to have arbitration or timetables.

Eide needs to realize that “with these statements or such an intimidation, we achieve the opposite results” the President noted, adding that “the less said, particularly on behalf of Eide, the better”.

He said, moreover, that the Special Adviser should have learned from his predecessors – who had caused significant problems in one or the other community – that particular care is required and added that “the Cyprus problem is a delicate matter”.

The President of Cyprus said that 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`”, the Turkish research vessel sailing off Cyprus` coast.

Moreover, President Anastasiades said that he had not walked away from settlement talks, even when there was a real threat against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus.

Furthermore, the President expressed his regret over the acceptance of “whispers” regarding the upcoming Presidential elections, due to take place next year. Presidential elections will be held in February 2018, he said, and added that this was something he was not taking into consideration. He added, however, that he can not disregard “another election that will be held in September, and in particular in Norway”, Eide`s country of origin.

The President of Cyprus also said that he does not intend to get into personal dispute with the Special Adviser, nor does he want this to seem as a personal difference between the two men. He added, however, that he has repeatedly drawn Eide`s attention over the fact that he must be more careful in his statements “for they cause mistrust or it appears like he is adopting the position of one side to the detriment of the other side”.

According to President Anastasiades, the UN Secretary General needs to know that negotiations are being conducted under threats “and this is unthinkable, it is a violation of international law”. At the same time, he went on, the Special Advised is preoccupied with some meetings, to yield a new date for summoning a multilateral conference in Geneva.

He said at this point that he does not oppose a multilateral conference, since it is there that Turkey will have to provide answers on security and guarantees and the withdrawal of occupation troops.

“He (Eide) 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,” the President concluded.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Anastasiades and Akinci have been engaged in UN-led talks since May 2015 with a view to reunite the island under a federal roof.