Nicosia protests against UN fund

Cyprus was highly critical yesterday of a United Nations agency after discovering that it had created a development fund for Turkish Cypriots without consulting with Nicosia beforehand. Foreign Minister George Iacovou said the fund was set up by the UN Development Program without the knowledge of Nicosia and argued there were no UN resolutions which allowed such a trust to be established without prior consultation. «This is a very provocative move… intense protests will be made at the highest level,» the minister told state radio. «There is a lack of transparency here.» A UNDP fund advertisement appeared in the local press this week appealing for donors to bankroll projects designed to close the «socioeconomic gap» between the island’s Greek- and Turkish-Cypriot communities. The UNDP said the fund was a standard tool of their work and denied that the creation of the project had been politically motivated, adding that any money donated to the fund would subject to oversight by Nicosia. Cyprus has had a fraught relationship with the UN since 2004, when Greek Cypriots rejected a reunification plan put together by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Since then there has been intermittent talk of reviving peace talks but Nicosia has insisted that several changes be made to the Annan plan, although it is reluctant to reveal its hand before negotiations begin in earnest. Meanwhile, the Turkish Cypriots refused last month to accept the first installment of 120 million euros from a 259-million-euro aid package from the EU because they were upset that Brussels dealt with Nicosia and not directly with them. (AFP, Kathimerini)

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