UNITED NATIONS GATE, January 3 – 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 Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ then Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide was quitting. It happened on August 15; he has still not been fully replaced. On 3 January 2019, after Inner City Press had been twice roughed up and banned 183 days and counting by Guterres’ Security, it asked Guterres and his spokesmen in writing, “January 3-1: On Cyprus, what is the SG’s comment and action on that Turkey issued an announcement on Thursday declaring it will conduct “seismic research” in a large area of the Eastern Mediterranean which includes parts of the Greek continental shelf and the Cypriot E.E.Z. Turkey said the research will be ongoing in the blocked-off area until Saturday, January 5? Also, what is the SG’s response to the protest letter Cyprus filed last month?” Lead spokes- / hatchetman Stephane Dujarric was again away; his deputy Farhan Haq entertained softball questions in the briefing Inner City Press was banned from, one from Turkish state media but not on Cyprus. Guterres’ UN is corrupt. On 2 July 2018 – the day before it was roughed up the second time by Guterres’ Security and banned since, 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. Then on July 3 Guterres’ UN ousted, and on July 5 banned, Inner City Press from the UN. Fox News story here, GAP blogs I and II. On July 17 Inner City Press was still banned from the UN by Guterres – two weeks and counting for covering the budget — when the Security Council met on Cyprus and agreed to these Press Elements: “The members of the Security Council received a briefing by SRSG Elizabeth Spehar and expressed their strong support for her work. The members of the Security Council welcomed the appointment of Jane Holl Lute as consultant to the UN Secretary-General on Cyprus settlement. The members of the Security Council called on all parties to engage meaningfully with the UN consultations to seize the opportunity they represent to urgently build on the progress achieved towards a bizonal, bicommunal federal solution to the Cyprus issue, in accordance with Security Council resolutions. The members of the Security Council also called on all parties to show real political will and responsibility and make the necessary compromises to reach settlement to the benefit of all Cypriots and the wider region. The members of the Security Council welcomed UNFICYP’s further efforts on Confidence Building Measures as set out in the UNSG’s UNFICYP report, including efforts to strengthen the participation of civil society, including women and youth, in a future settlement process.” The day before on July 16, will awaiting the “investigation” the UN promised, Inner City Press e-mailed Dujarric and his deputy Farhan Haq, “In a letter to the UN, Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has called for a reassessment of the UN peacekeeping force’s (UNFICYP) mandate on the island. What is the SG’s thinking / response?” First there was no answer – Haq couldn’t have been busy, with Inner City Press banned there were only four questioners in the day’s noon briefing. So Inner City Press asked again, cc-ing Guterres’ Deputy Amina J. Mohammed and his Communicator Alison Smale, among others. Haq replied, “your email has been received and we are following up on answers.” But by 4 pm, nothing. This is a pattern.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.
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