NEWS

UN tough on Cyprus leaders

The United Nations should proceed with caution in rekindling Cyprus reunification talks and Cypriot leaders should be much more active in providing ideas for a viable deal, according to report presented yesterday by a top UN official. UN special envoy for Cyprus Kieran Prendergast briefed the Security Council on the outcome of his talks with officials in Nicosia, Athens and Ankara earlier this month and had stinging words for the role played by Cypriot politicians. «Leaders have to lead, not just follow their supporters. Leaders are there to provide statesmanship and sometimes that means getting a bit ahead of your electorate,» he said. In a referendum last April, Greek Cypriots rejected a plan for reunifying the island proposed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. President Tassos Papadopoulos’s government has since been asked to suggest changes to the plan but is reluctant to show its hand before negotiations resume. Prendergast said the UN should be «very careful» not to launch a new peace talks initiative «prematurely.»