Despite Provocations, UN Thanks Akinci for Cyprus Unity Efforts

FILE - Cyprus' president Nicos Anastasiades, right, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, left, shake hands with UN envoy Jane Holl Lute after a meeting at a U.N compound inside the U.N buffer zone in divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. After six consecutive days meetings with the rivals leaders, they meet today together for an effort to prepare the ground for a meeting between the two men and the U.N. secretary-general that would aim to kick-start formal reunification talks. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias, Pool)

With Turkey violating international law by sending drill ships into Cypriot sovereign waters to look for energy, the an envoy from the United Nations – which has ignored pleas from the legitimate government to intervene – has instead thanked Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci for what she said was his work to help reunify the island divided by a 1974 invasion.

That was according to Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News, the country’s oldest English-language newspaper, which said that UN envoy Jane Holl Lute, an American diplomat, sent Akinci a letter at the same time the US told Turkey to back off its drilling in Cyprus’ EEZ, but was ignored.

Lute had met with Akinci and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades separately in a push to get them talking again but, like a long line of diplomats and envoys before her over the decades, also failed before leaving.

Akinci and Anastasiades had met informally on Aug. 9, more than two years after the last round of negotiations fell apart at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana when Akinci and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said they would never remove a 35,000-strong standing army on the occupied northern third and wanted the right to intervene militarily again when they wanted.

Lute’s letter thanked Akinci for his continuing commitment to the efforts for building a constructive path to the solution of the Cyprus impasse, the paper said, adding that she wanted to meet with him again but it wasn’t said why or what she hoped to accomplish with Akinci and Anastasiades set to meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York this month.

Akıncı received Lute on Sept. 1, Presidential Spokesman Barış Burcu said on Twitter and talked on and off for a week, during which she met him six times and also shuttled back and forth to talk to Anastasiades instead of trying to have them both in a room at the same time.

Akıncı and Anastasiades met at an informal reception at the U.N. Good Offices Mission in the buffer zone on Sept. 6, before Lute’s departure the paper said. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who presided at the Swiss debacle, is expected to meet Akıncı and Anastasiades in New York during the UN annual opening.