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28-01-2023 11:08

Reference to the Cyprus problem during UN press briefing

During’s yesterday’s (27.1.23) press briefing at UN Headquarters, the Spokesperson for the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Stéphane Dujarric, replied to questions set by the OMEGA correspondent, Mr Michalis Ignatiou, as follows:

"Question: Thank you, Stephane. I have some questions on Cyprus, please. My first question is what exactly Mr Stewart said; if you have a transcript. Did he really blame the Greek Cypriots for the impasse? The question is yes or no? 

Spokesperson: You may ask whatever you want and you leave me the liberty of choosing how I have to answer, Michael. Thank you. On the report, press reports that we've seen about conversations, we're not in the business of commenting on reported conversations that may have taken place within a private setting. What matters is the Secretary General's opinion, his views on the Cyprus issue. There were two reports that came out in January. His position is clear, in black and white in those reports. That's the secretariat's position. We the UN, and that includes Mr Stewart and the mission in Cyprus work impartially with both sides, in Cyprus. Mr Stewart has the full backing and confidence of the Secretary-General in his job.  

Question: Okay, yeah. If I may, I don't know you if you heard the statement by the President of the Republic of Cyprus. If you allow me, Mr Anastasiades said and I quote, "If something similar was indeed set, the list that could be set is that we are no longer talking about the representative of the United Nations, but a representative of those who violates international law." As you understand it's a very tough statement. Can you give us an answer? 

Spokesperson: I understand the nature and your analysis of President Anastasiades' statement. What I can tell you is that our position is unchanged. And I would encourage journalists and observers to look at what the Secretary-General's position is, it's in black and white. It's Mr Stewart's position. He continues with the full support of the Secretary-General, and he will continue to work impartially. And I think it is important to focus on what is said and what is said in official remarks and what is written in official reports rather than hearsay from private conversations.  

Question: Okay. I have a follow-up on this. But if he spoke against the Greek Cypriots. And as I understand, he did; does the Secretary-General still trust Mr Stewart … [Cross talk]  

Spokesperson: Your preamble aside, because I was not there; you were not there; and again I think it is a mistake to try to analyse what may or may not have been said in private, in corridors, in dinners, and whatever. What matters I think is Mr Stewart's mind-set, which is laser focused on representing the Secretary-General, on representing the United Nations in the most impartial way possible. And again, He has the Secretary-General's full support.  

Question: Stephane two general questions.  

Spokesperson: Okay.  

Question: First, does the Secretary-General think that the Turkish invasion in Cyprus is the same issue as the Russian invasion of Ukraine or these two invasions are different? 

Spokesperson: The compare and contrast of different situations is best left to journalists and analysts.  

Question: But the invasion is an invasion as I understand.  

Spokesperson: I will leave you with my first answer. 

Question: Okay. And what is the Secretary-General's position on the occupation of Cyprus? Is it the same for example as the occupation of Palestine?  

Spokesperson: I think his view is written in the large number of reports that are issued by this organization on Cyprus. And again, I'm not going to get into a comparison… [Cross talk]."