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On Cyprus Inner City Press Asks UN If Guterres Got Letter About Air Space But No Answer

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon

UNITED NATIONS, July 2 – After the Cyprus talks collapsed at Crans Montana in Switzerland back in early July 2017, on August 3 Inner City Press asked the UN when its Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide was quitting. It happened on August 15; he has still not been replaced as of May 25. Now Inner City Press can report that as UN interim special envoy Jane Holl Lute has still not been approved by Turkey - and that previously Antonio Guterres tried to give the job to French former head of UN Peacekeeping Jean-Marie Guehenno, recently out of a job with the Crisis Group. Guehenno was rejected, on EU grounds that will also limit any ongoing envoy. On July 2, Inner City Press asked UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: Did the Secretary-General get a letter from Cyprus, his Permanent Representative in Cyprus, about alleged violations of its airspace by Turkey, and, if so, what is his response?

Deputy Spokesman:  I'm not aware of that, but I'll check.  Have a good afternoon, everyone." Four hours later, nothing. Is it that hard to check if a letter has been received by Guterres' office? Then again, Guterres often does not answer, for example so far on his guards' ouster of Inner City Press on June 22 from an event Guterres spoke at.
Video here, story here, new petition here, not responded to one week later and counting. On June 1 Inner City Press asked UN Security Council president Nebenzia, here, which got picked up without direct attribution by the Cyprus Mail, here. On June 4, Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: On Cyprus, the… the President of the Security Council, Ambassador [Vassily] Nebenzia, said on Friday, when I asked him about Cyprus, that he didn't think that this even interim envoy would move forward until some political events took place, which I took to mean elections in Turkey.  And I wanted to ask you point-blank, I guess, because there was… basically, Jane Holl Lute was welcomed by one side, and then you said, we have nothing to announce.  Can you just give us sort of a sense of what's led to the…

Spokesman:  It's… you know, its a case of people speculating without any official announcement from our part.  We… you know, we will announce what we need to announce when we feel the situation is ready.  And I'm not… you know, Cyprus, as most of the issues we deal with, are delicate and complex.  And I'm not going to try to look into the future, say when… if and when we're going to announce it.

Inner City Press: What about a quick look into the past, not on speculation, but just to understand how things work?  It's my understanding that… that the Secretary-General tried to send Mr.  [Jean-Marie] Guéhenno to Cyprus as an envoy, and he was rejected on the grounds that he's an EU [European Union] member.  And I wanted to know, is it true… does the UN accept that one of the parties of interest in the Cyprus matter now determines that… that EU members can't be envoys?

Spokesman:  Listen, I'm not going to get into whatever discussions may be had, but it's an obvious answer that the UN will not propose an envoy or a mediator or a negotiator between parties if both parties don't agree to that person.  But on Mr. Guéhenno, I have no specific comment.

Inner City Press: I mean, is there a situation in which a party could announce a… a… a systematic banning of all… of a certain category from a continent or…

Spokesman:  Every case is looked at." Really? Guterres was set to meet with Guehenno on June 4, still in accurately listed as CEO of the International Crisis Group... On June 6, Inner City Press asked Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press:  I'd asked you about Cyprus yesterday.  I wanted to sharpen the question.  Now, the President of Cyprus has said that he's hoping that, after the Turkish elections of 24 June, a Special Envoy of the United Nations' Secretary-General can explore.  So, I just… I guess I just want… it seems to be an open secret that… that… is it the fact that… that the delay in… in naming even this interim envoy is based on the… on…?

Spokesman:  Look, two things are critical in the naming of an envoy:  The Envoy and the timing.  And when we feel the time is right on both, we will move ahead.

Inner City Press:  And just… maybe relatedly or not, I noticed in yesterday's public schedule of the Secretary-General, he had a meeting at 2:30 p.m. with Jean-Marie Guéhenno, President and Chief Executive Officer of the International Crisis Group.  First, I wanted to know, is it true that he's still there because it seems like he's not…?

Spokesman:  No, I think it was a mistake.  He's no longer… it was a mistake on our part.  He's no longer the president.

Inner City Press: And can you… is it possible to give some without getting even a full readout of what the topic was?  Did… did the Secretary-General request to meet with him?  Is he thinking of deploying him in some fashion?

Spokesman:  No, I haven't had a chance to talk to the Secretary-General about that meeting." And five hours later, nothing. The interim Cyprus job would only be to talk to the Cypriot, Greek Cypriot and the guarantors; for the more permanent post, if necessary, it seems no national of a P5 country, or even of the EU, could be selected. So... a diplomat from Latin America, Africa or Asia? Guterres recently sent Bathily to Madascagar, another failed mediation. The UN is getting lower each day. Here is the May 8 video: Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Dujarric to confirm that Jane Holl Lute is Guterres' interim envoy on Cyprus. Dujarric refused. [Later, the transcript became available, here: Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you, on Cyprus, I'd asked you before — or maybe it was Farhan [Haq] — to confirm that Jane Holl Lute was named as interim envoy; it seems to be the case.

Spokesman:  No.  That's not the case.

Inner City Press:  There is no interim… there's no one reaching out…?

Spokesman:  I have no announcement to share with you.

Inner City Press: The… the… the Foreign Minister of Cyprus has… has thanked the Secretary-General for naming an interim official.  So who is that interim official?

Spokesman:  I don't have any announcement for you at this point.  Yes, sir?

Inner City Press:  That's kind of un-transparent.

Spokesman:  It's not un-transparent.  When we're ready to announce something, we're ready to announce.  People from… in 193 Member States often announce things for us.  When we are ready to announce it, we will announce it.] On May 4, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: Inner City Press:  A spokesperson for the Turkish foreign ministry, Hami Aksoy, has said:  "It is not possible to reach a federal solution with the Greek Cypriots' mindset.  We believe it is time to try a new way."  So, this is setting off waves, saying that essentially that Turkey is saying that the former framework for dealing with this may be thrown out the window.  Is there a response from the UN? And people there continue to say that Jane Holl Lute is this temporary envoy.  Is that something that you continue to deny?

Deputy Spokesman:  There's nothing to announce about any visits and, like I said a few days ago, there's certainly no appointment of a special envoy to announce.  Regarding these quotes, we're not going to respond to all of the rhetoric from different officials, but what we have made clear is the need for the parties to come back to the table, and we're trying to see what can be done to bring them back." On May 2, Inner City Press asked the UN to confirm or deny reports that Jane Holl Lute is becoming interim envoy - the UN refused to confirm. From the UN's May 2 transcript: Inner City Press:  there have been a number of reports saying the Secretary-General has made Jane Holl Lute a sort of a temporary or interim envoy on Cyprus.  Can you address that?  I know, also, in her other role that she has for the UN… you know, she has a number of other… of outside… some business and board… corporate board service.  Has this been vetted?

Deputy Spokesman:  At this point, all I can really say on that is that there are currently no plans to appoint a Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Cyprus.  Upon the closing of the Conference on Cyprus last year, the Secretary-General encouraged all parties to reflect in order to determine whether the conditions would mature again for a meaningful process in the near future.  The UN is in contact with the parties to determine a way to seek the outcomes of their reflections and their views on the way forward.  Yes?

Inner City Press:  But on Jane Holl Lute, nothing?

Deputy Spokesman:  That's what I have for now.  I’ve got no further thing to announce." And he closed his Office five hours later with nothing. From the UN's April 17 transcript: Inner City Press: I want to be sure to ask you something on Cyprus, just to understand better.  There's a story in the Cyprus Mail that says, "Rosemary DiCarlo has the most likely chance of becoming the next personal envoy of UN Secretary-General António Guterres in Cyprus"… or “on Cyprus”, I guess that would be.  And I just wanted to know, is it even possible that one could be Under-Secretary-General of Political Affairs and also a… an envoy on a specific topic?  And when does she begin?

Spokesman:  As you know, we announce new appointments when we're ready to announce them so that there's… wherever we are in the world, there's a wonderful game of speculating what the Secretary-General will do until there's an announcement.  As… in theory, anything is possible.  But, obviously, we're not in a position to talk about an announcement.

Inner City Press:  But isn't it a job that takes…?

Spokesman:  There was a discussion yesterday with the two… in Cyprus where the two leaders had a frank and open exchange of views during their two-hour tête-à-tête discussion, which was facilitated by the UN.  This was the first time the two leaders met since the conclusion of the Conference on Cyprus in Crans-Montana in July of last year.  Both sides have made it clear that the meeting did not mark the resumption of the negotiations.  But, obviously, as we've always said, the Secretary-General's good offices remain at the disposal of both parties.

Inner City Press:  And when does Rosemary DiCarlo start?

Spokesman:  1 May, I believe." We'll see. The UN wouldn't even give a read out of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' meeting with Cyprus' foreign minister Christodoulides in Rome, despite Cyprus statements about it being constructive and productive. The UN calls it short and not worthy of a read-out. Video here. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: I heard you talking about a bilateral meeting with an EU counterparty in… in… in Rome.  Did you give a readout of the Cyprus meeting?  Because the Cyprus side is. Deputy Spokesman:  No, there's no real readout to have.  It wasn't a very lengthy meeting.  They discussed a number of issues; as you might imagine, Cyprus would be among the issues discussed with the Cypriot Foreign Minister. Inner City Press: No, I'm saying the talks.  They're saying the President is ready to resume talks and that this was conveyed to the Secretary-General.  That's the headline in the Cyprus… Deputy Spokesman:  There's no readout we have to provide of the fairly brief meeting." We'll have more on this. When Guterres gave his speech on 2018 priorities on January 16, among European conflicts he did not even mention Cyprus. Here was the entire section: "Eighth, removing the paralysis that has let European conflicts fester and freeze.  Having started two world wars, and taking into account the resources and capacities available to Europe, it is unjustifiable for conflicts in the region to persist. Resolving these situations requires pushing back the dangerous tide of nationalism, and revitalizing the relevant mediation initiatives – including the Normandy Format and Trilateral Contact Group on Eastern Ukraine, the OSCE Minsk Group on Nagorno-Karabakh, the Geneva International Discussions related to Georgia and the “5+2” process on Transnistria. A concerted effort for solutions leading to long-term stability in the Western Balkans is also urgent. I urge European leaders to show that the continent can live up to its ideals of shared prosperity and peaceful coexistence." Maybe like with the UN's regional groups, Guterres puts Cyprus in the Asian Group. But it is nowhere in his speech, unlike
Transnistria. When UNFICYP Special Representative Elizabeth Spehar took questions on January 17, Inner City Press asked her about Guterres' omission, about how much leaving the Ledra Palace Hotel will cost, and what happened on the investigation of UNFICYP CFO Husein Moussa for becoming a Cyprus citizen. On the last, she said it is subject to a "professional" investigation. Very thorough, for an organization which can evict and still restrict the Press, for doing its job, without any hearing or appeal. Her answers are here. We'll have more on this. At noon on August 15 Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, “Is there any UN role during the upcoming General Assembly week to try to get it back on track?  And does the Secretary-General take note of various statements since it fell apart?” Video here, UN transcript here and below. Now on October 6, Dujarric has issued this statement: "“At 10:50 am on 4 October, an UNFICYP vehicle carrying humanitarian supplies departed Nicosia for Greek Cypriot communities in the Karpas, as has been regular practice for close to four decades. UNFICYP was obliged to limit today’s delivery to medical aid supplies, following the Turkish Cypriot administration’s unilateral decision to impose taxes and fees on other humanitarian goods. UNFICYP regrets the decision taken by the Turkish Cypriot administration, which it considers to be an unfortunate development. The Mission’s role of delivering humanitarian assistance to Greek Cypriot and Maronite communities in the northern part of the island is based on a longstanding agreement between the sides known as Vienna III, and provides hundreds of elderly and other vulnerable people with basic supplies on a weekly basis. UNFICYP stands ready to assist the sides to reach a mutually acceptable solution, with the interests of the affected communities in mind."  What impact will this have? Back on August 15 Dujarric replied that “The Secretary-General was clear in his comments in Crans-Montana that he remains available should the parties come to him.  I'm sure that Cyprus will be one of the many issues that will be discussed in the Secretary-General's various bilaterals that he will have during the General Assembly.” As Secretary General Antonio Guterres has been petitioned by more than 2,000 people, Inner City Press remains restricted in its movements and access in the UN, for having covered the Ng Lap Seng UN bribery scandal in the UN Press Briefing Room. These restrictions remain in place 18 months later, even with the 2017 General Assembly high level week a mere month away. Two days after Inner City Press published the two-page July 4, 2017 Eide “Leaders' Meeting” statement as leaked to it, scan on Patreon, below here in full, it asked Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I actually have a follow-up on Cyprus. It was leaked to Inner City Press a document called Leaders Meeting 4.7.2017, which purports to be Mr. Eide conveying what he understood from António Guterres, including by text message, that, on troops, Mr. Guterres wanted a reduction to the level of those under the old Treaty of Alliance, the levels of 1960, and any number of other issues.  Given the importance of the issue, is that his position? And now that Mr. Eide’s no longer in the position, is this his document?  Is this the final position of the Secretary-General?

Deputy Spokesman:  First of all, I don’t have any comment on… on leaked documents.  Second of all... ultimately, the positions in a diplomatic process are ones that will be evolved through discussions with the parties themselves. I wouldn’t have any comment on what the state of play may have been four or five months ago.  Diplomatic processes evolve over time.

Here it is: “Leaders' Meeting 4.7.2017
Eide: I talked with the UNSG last night and also this morning we were texting and follows closely what is going on and he is very interested and of course, as all, he was a little worried about the lack of progress.
Based on my conversations with him, I would like to clarify the points he raised based on the conversation I held with him and his comments.
On security, I think we have to start recognizing that what we need is a new security regime, not the continuation of the old. I think we need, as he said, the end of the unilateral right of intervention and the end of the Treaty of Guarantees. The current situation will be replaced by a solid system of assurances where the whole of Cyprus and all Cypriots of both communities will feel secure and by robust implementation and oversight mechanisms that will include an outside element (international dimension: UN, multilateral / international / friendly countries. Current guarantors cannot implement and monitor themselves.
On troops, there would be a rapid reduction from Day 1 to a low level and then to numbers equivalent to those in the old Treaty of Alliance (timetable to reach the levels of 1960 and verifying mechanism to oversight needs to be agreed). In relation to sunset clause versus review clause, this was something that would need to be discussed at the highest level. Need to discuss mandate / purpose / SOFA agreement, obligations and so on.
On territory, the TC side need to adjust the map presented to respond to concerns expressed by GCs regarding some localities. You need to say Morphou.
On property there are two principles: for areas under territorial adjustment and the rest regime to be constructed in a way that would lend itself to give prevalence to dispossessed owners but not a 100%, for areas not under territorial adjustment regime to be constructed in a way that would lend itself to give prevalence to current useers but not a 100%. Specific elements to be further elaborated.
On equivalent treatment, as regards permanent residence of Turkish nationals to have a quota and that should be equitable to Greek nationals who become permanent residents, except the regime related to students, tourists and posted workers. Further discussion is needed on what is equitable on the application of permanent residence.
The issue of effective participation needs to be discussed further as regards the issue of a favorable vote (when and under which conditions, which bodies and the relevant deadlock-resolving mechanisms), while any other remaining elements in power-sharing, including the demand of the TC side for rotating Presidency should also be discussed.” We'll have more on this.


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