South Cyprus President Anastasiades sent a letter to the UN Secretary-General Bank Ki-moon in which he accused UN Special Adviser Alexander Downer and his team of undermining the president’s credibility and the prospects of resuming peace talks.
Anastasiades threatened to pull out of the UN-planned dinner between himself and President Dervis Eroglu on May 29, unless the UN chief could provide personal assurances that it would be a “social event” only.
The two-page letter, is dated May 17, 2013. In the letter, Anastasiades assures the UN chief of his commitment to the peace process.
He refers to the message sent to Ban via Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides recently in New York, regarding the need to postpone the resumption of peace talks until autumn so Anastasiades could focus on the pressing economic crisis.
The president further reminds Ban in the letter that it was the Turkish Cypriot side that had abandoned the peace talks in March 2012, using Cyprus’ EU presidency as an excuse, despite the readiness of then president Demetris Christofias to continue the talks.
Getting to the crux of the matter, Anastasiades then refers to Downer’s invitation to himself and Eroglu to attend a dinner hosted by the UN, which he argues, was clearly presented as a social event.
The president writes to Ban saying : “I regret to express my disappointment with the handling of this issue by your special adviser who with actions and words creates expectations of a meeting of high political importance.”
Additionally, in an effort to achieve this goal, Downer’s associates are “giving inaccurate information which serves to undermine my credibility and the prospects of resuming peace talks”.
Anastasiades concludes the letter warning that he would seriously reconsider his presence at the dinner unless he receives explicit assurances from Ban, not his special adviser, about the social nature of the dinner.
Invited to comment on reports of the letter, Stylianides said the government wanted to stress that the May 29 dinner meeting between Anastasiades and Eroglu would be a social function.
“This is the type of meeting which has been agreed on,” he said.
The letter comes a day after the government confirmed it had received a 77-page document from the UN containing the convergences achieved between the two sides during the period 2008-2012, when Christofias was in power.
Ruling DISY leader Averof Neophytou yesterday told reporters that it was becoming clearer day by day that the UN has begun preparations on the Cyprus problem talks.
Neophytou said it appeared other countries interested in playing a role in the Cyprus problem were making the same preparations, adding: “I believe the government, the president, will take the necessary measures and steps so as not to be surprised.”