Opponents to the UN peace settlement have been reading the UN’s emails over the past 6 months and have released documents in which the Greek Cypriot party DIKO is labeled as “conservative” and “rigid” amongst other comments made.
This has caused a stir in the political circles of the island, as the negotiations between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots are well on the way (again) and the UN wants to be perceived –if anything- as a stabilizing factor on the discussion table. According to a UN press release the Special Advisor to the Secretary General of the UN, Alexander Downer, has been cautiously optimistic because the two leaders were very commiterd to achieving a successful outcome.
Former Australian foreign minister of the Howard government, Mr Downer has been on the island since last June appointed as the UN “peacekeeper”. As for the exact role of the UN, he had to say that today there were new leaders and the United Nations was taking a different approach – to assist, not arbitrate. Downer has been holding twice weekly meetings with the leaders of both sides with a view to coming to some sort of solution before the December deadline, which is when the UN are due to withdraw their forces.
The discussions are focusing on governance and power-sharing issues, with a view to creating a “bi-zonal, bi-communall federation with political equality and a singular international personality.”
Concernign the course that the meetings have been taking he said that things unexpectedly arose during any negotiation and the response was to deal with them, not complain.
The UN do what they can to help the two sides but the UN are not writing blue prints.It’s for the leaders to negotiate a comprehensive settlement”, he said.
Invited to comment on information that he is in favor of Turkish army and settlers remaining on the island, after a solution is achieved, Downer said that as a “politician for many years I am used to people putting words in my mouth.”
“I don’t have any model that I think should be imposed on Cyprus and I am not promoting any particular model privately or publicly”, he remarked.
“I don’t think Cypriots want the United Nations to write the plan,”Mr Downer added. “I think they want to write their own history”.