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Downer Says He Won't Get Involved In Political Debate Ahead of Parliament Vote

alexander downer persona non grataUN Special Adviser Alexander Downer said it is not appropriate for him to get involved in politics or political debate after the House of Representatives decided to conduct a debate on his comments about the 'Greek Cypriots' (instead of the Republic of Cyprus) taking over the EU rotating presidency. MPs are set to vote on a resolution tomorrow, February 2nd that may declare a UN representative as persona non grata.

"I can see that they are particularly picking up on some comments it a press conference at Greentree. I made it clear to anybody who is interested that obviously the United Nations fully recognizes the Republic of Cyprus," he said.

His comments were made in the context of the talks taking place at Greentree Estate in New York on January 23rd, he said.

"There shouldn’t be any confusion about the United Natons position including my own position that we fully recognize the Republic of Cyprus, not just that, but as the incoming President of the EU. So there is no question of that," he said.

Downer denied that he is not objective about the negotiations, saying that: "the task here is to try and find a way of reuniting a divided Cyprus and there is a formula for doing that which the Security Council has laid down and we have come from different parts of the world, me from the other side of the world, to try to help the Cypriots achieve that outcome."

"Of all the issues I’ve been involved in over the years, as a Foreign Minister for nearly 12 years included, I haven’t come across many issues which are more difficult than this. All of my predecessors in this job have found the same thing of course. This is an extraordinary difficult issue and if course inevitably people have their own opinions and so on, but the thing is if you want to reunite Cyprus you have to think about the substance of the issues, how are we going to make an agreement on government, how are we going to make an agreement on property, on territorial adjustment, the economy, EU matters, security. These are the very heart of this issue and the most productive debate here is a debate about how best to make those agreements and to make them to the satisfaction of the people of Cyprus, be they Greek Cypriots or Turkish Cypriots," he said.

After the latest meeting at Greentree, Downer said he is still expecting some figures on property from both sides, and that there is still one week left for them to be gathered.

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