UNITED NATIONS – Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades used his time at the United Nations General Assembly annual opening to rip its “dismal lack of effectiveness,” the island still divided and occupied since unlawful 1974 Turkish invasions.
During his tenure, which began in 2013, he has repeatedly asked the UN to intervene in Turkey’s drilling for oil and gas in Cypriot waters and provocations, including the partial reopening of the abandoned rest of Varosha.
He was ignored and used his last shot to remind the UN of its failures, with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres unable to broker a reunification settlement during talks at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana in 2017.
The UN web site reported that he said hasn’t even been able to implement decisions, resolutions, threats to national sovereignty, help refugees, or get climate change accords, as well as Cyprus being left adrift for decades.
He said his address was “outside the bounds of diplomatic etiquette,” as with nothing to lose he took off the gloves for open-handed back slaps at the UN, which has been unable to make any real difference in the world.
Without explaining why he waited nine years to speak out bluntly, he said there was now a need to talk about the UN’s loss of credibility in the world or stand up to the financial interests of the most powerful countries who get their way.
When resolutions are violated, he noted, there are no consequences, just emboldening those who break the rules, and UN reports get set aside almost as soon as they are printed and swiftly forgotten.
He said letting the countries hold sway creates “new precedents outside the framework of legality,” and said the UN has to be reinvented into a body with some capability to deal with problems like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
He said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has snubbed his nose at the UN in defying resolutions, including those which said only the original Greek-Cypriot owners could reinhabit property in Varosha on the occupied side.
Erdogan and Turkish-Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar, who said he would do whatever Erdogan tells him, have set aside the idea of reunification in insisting that the UN recognize the occupied side that’s isolated in the world.
Anastasiades said the 37 percent northern part of the island under Turkish control for 38 years is under military occupation, Turkey keeping 35,000 troops on an island where the legitimate Greek-Cypriot government is a member of the European Union that Turkey has fruitlessly been trying to join since 2005.
When resolutions and decisions of international law are neither implemented nor enforced, it allows for violations to continue — even “rewarding” the offending states, he also added.
He said that the only way forward in resolving conflicts is for countries to abide by international laws, but Turkey doesn’t, including the Law of the Sea and has set its own agenda, still unimpeded by the UN or EU.