Stepping down as United Nations special envoy on Cyprus now that a joint communiqué between the two sides has been ratified, Alexander Downer has revealed that he will now concentrate on politics in his native Australia.
The former foreign minister will focus on working on the South Australian election as Liberal party state president after ending his time as UN envoy to Cyprus.
According to Sydney Morning Herald yesterday, Downer told Australia’s Fairfax Media that he had no interest in a return to parliamentary politics but would devote himself to his other positions, including a consulting company, teaching at the University of Adelaide apart from the state election.
The decision, Downer said, came after over five years of intensive travel within his work on what the former Australian Foreign Minister described as a “fascinating, a hugely complex and difficult issue.”
The envoy role meant Downer spent up to 10 days a month shuttling between Nicosia, Athens, Ankara and New York.
Downer has won praise from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for playing an ''indispensable role'' since 2008 in efforts to resolve the Cyprus Problem.
There has been persistent speculation that the Australian government might ask him to take a diplomatic post representing Australia, with Washington most often touted.
''If any of those jobs came my way, I'd make a decision, but it would mean giving up my other jobs,'' Downer said.
Responding to criticism from within Cyprus, Downer said the job has been a huge undertaking and flak was bound to be acquired along the way. According to the Australian newspaper, Downer will be travelling to New York next month for a concluding discussion on the peace talks with the UN Secretary-General.