Cypriot leaders ‘too busy’ to attend UN event

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci have changed their minds and said they are too busy to attend a UN reception, cancelling an opportunity to show some seasonal goodwill.

Cypriot leaders making themselves unavailable to attend UN end of the year festivities comes just weeks after a dinner date in Berlin with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in an effort to restart Cyprus talks.

Both leaders made last-minute cancellations to snub Tuesday evening’s UN event in Nicosia’s buffer zone.

Akinci cited a change in his schedule, while Anastasiades said that after the Turkish Cypriot leader cancelled, he too would be unable to attend due to more pressing matters on his agenda.

There was some confusion over who cancelled first, as declining a UN invitation for a bicommunal social event is not the most diplomatic of moves.

Government spokesperson Kyriacos Koushos issued a statement clarifying that the President cancelled his participation after Akinci had backed out first.

He said Anastasiades, despite his burdensome agenda, had accepted on Monday a UN invitation to attend the Christmas celebration event, as he called it, then he was informed by UN officials that Akinci would not be attending.

When the President of the Republic was informed that Mr Mustafa Akinci would not be attending the event because of other obligations, the President informed the United Nations that he too would not attend the event, in order to fulfil his heavy schedule, said the statement.

A UN source told the Financial Mirror that while both leaders had confirmed on Monday evening that they would be attending the event, they cancelled for unclarified reasons.

Source: The Financial Mirror