UN in Cyprus refutes media reports of UN envoy interfering with EU Cyprus envoy

29 October 2013

The United Nations in Cyprus today refuted media reports that allege Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Adviser for Cyprus Alexander Downer interfered in the involvement of the European Commission in the peace process.

“The United Nations in Cyprus considers the dissemination of incorrect information particularly unhelpful at this stage of the talks,” a UN spokesperson said in a statement, which calls the resulting speculation an “unwelcome distraction.”

The allegations in local Cypriot media appear to centre around a purported letter from Mr. Downer to European Commission President, José Manuel Barroso.

The UN in Cyprus has denied the allegations and reiterated its commitment to assisting both parties in finding a lasting political solution to end the division of the island.

The UN-facilitated talks began in 2008 with the aim of eventually setting up a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, with Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot constituent states of equal status.

In today’s statement, the UN welcomed the continuing participation of the EU in the Cyprus peace talks.

Over the past four years, the UN in Cyprus has benefited from the regular presence of a Personal Representative of the European Commission President, appointed by Mr. Barroso to assist the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General in Cyprus and his team, according to the spokesperson.

The current Personal Representative of Mr. Barroso is Pieter Van Nuffel of the European Commission’s legal service.

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