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Downer leaves Cyprus empty handed tomorrow

16 January 2014

UN Special Envoy, Alexander Downer is expected to leave Cyprus tomorrow and will be briefing the UN Security Council (UNSC) next Wednesday.

Special Representative Lisa Buttenheim will also brief the UNSC on the same day regarding peacekeeping operations on the island, while by the end of the month the Security Council is expected to vote on the renewal of UNFICYP’s mandate.

Downer held meetings yesterday met with the Greek and Turkish Cypriot negotiators in what appeared to be a final round of contacts before he briefs the UN Security Council next week on the failure to agree on a joint declaration.

What Downer chooses to focus on when briefing the UNSC next week and if he points the finger of blame at either or both parties for the failure of resuming the peace talks, remains to be seen.

It is unlikely that Downer will wait to see President Anastasiades who is currently in London or President Eroglu who is on a brief working visit to Ankara today. It has been reported by sources close to the peace negotiations that the UN Envoy was offended by remarks made by President Anastasiades on national TV regarding Downer’s objectivity and therefore suitability as an intermediary in the peace process.

Following a number of criticisms of Downer by the South’s president and numerous written communications to the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, some sources, frustrated by the lack of progress, despite great efforts on the part of the international community to achieve a joint statement, are beginning to question Anastasiade’s motives.

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