Greek Cyprus lawmakers rebuke UN envoy Downer

Greek Cyprus lawmakers rebuke UN envoy Downer

NICOSIA, Cyprus - The Associated Press
Greek Cyprus lawmakers rebuke UN envoy Downer

Greek Cypriot president Christofias (C) waves to the media as he welcomes UN envoy Alexander Downer (L) before meeting at a UN compound in Nicosia in this file photo. AA Photo

The Greek Cyprus parliament Feb. 2 took the unusual step of rebuking a United Nations envoy over perceived bias that it says is hindering long-running talks to reunify the divided island.

Lawmakers unanimously approved a resolution decrying Alexander Downer’s “one-sided and detrimental statements and actions” that they say have eroded his credibility as an impartial facilitator in the talks between Greek and Turkish Cypriots. Downer said last month that a peace accord needed to be reached before “Greek Cypriots” take on the “very heavy responsibility” of the European Union’s rotating presidency in July. The use of the term “Greek Cypriots” instead of merely “Cyprus” was interpreted by the Greek Cypriots as an attempt to diminish government in the Greek Cypriot and bid to set a deadline to the three-year-old talks, which Greek Cypriots vehemently oppose.

The resolution also said that Downer’s latest remark comes on top of “numerous non-impartial...and dangerously interfering statements and actions that depart from his mandate.” It added that U.N.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon needs to “urgently restore” his envoy’s credibility. Downer Feb. 1 tried to play down the issue, telling reporters after meeting with Greek Cypriot President Demetres Christofias that the U.N. recognizes the government of the Republic of Cyprus which will take over the European Union term presidency.

Greece, Turkey,