The Security Council this afternoon extended the mandate of the United Nations Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for a further six months until 30 June 1997 and called upon the leaders of both communities to create a climate of reconciliation and confidence.
Unanimously adopting resolution 1092 (1996), the Council reiterated that the status quo in Cyprus was unacceptable. It stressed its support for the Secretary-General's mission of good offices and the importance of the concerted efforts to work with him towards an overall comprehensive settlement.
The Council deplored the violent incidents of 11 and 14 August, 8 September and 15 October, which resulted in the tragic deaths of three Greek Cypriot civilians and one member of the Turkish Cypriot Security Forces, as well as injuries to civilians and UNFICYP personnel. It deplored in particular the unnecessary and disproportionate use of force by the Turkish/Turkish Cypriot side, as well as the largely passive role played by the Cypriot police in response to civilian demonstrations.
Reiterating its grave concern about the excessive levels of the expansion, upgrading and modernization of the military forces and armaments in Cyprus, the Council called again upon all concerned to commit themselves to a reduction in defence spending and in the number of foreign troops on the island to help restore confidence between the parties and as a first step towards the withdrawal of non-Cypriot forces. It stressed the importance of eventual demilitarization of Cyprus as an objective in the context of an overall comprehensive settlement and called upon the Secretary-General to continue to promote efforts in that direction.
Also by the resolution, the Council called upon the parties to cooperate with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in his efforts to prepare the ground for open-ended direct negotiations between the leaders of the two Cypriot communities in the first half of 1997 in order to secure an overall settlement.
The Council reaffirmed its position that a Cyprus settlement should be based on a State of Cyprus with a single sovereignty and international personality and a single citizenship, with its independence and territorial integrity safeguarded, and comprising two politically equal communities as described in the relevant Security Council resolutions, in a bi-communal and bi-zonal federation, and that such a settlement must exclude union in whole or in part with any other country or any form of partition or secession.
The Council also reaffirmed that the decision of the European Union concerning opening of accession negotiations with Cyprus was an important new development that should facilitate an overall settlement.
The meeting, which was called to order at 1:15 p.m., was adjourned at 1:17 p.m.
"The Security Council,
"Welcoming the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations operation in Cyprus of 10 December 1996 (S/1996/1016 and Add.1),
"Welcoming also the report of the Secretary-General on his mission of good offices in Cyprus of 17 December 1996 (S/1996/1055),
"Noting that the Government of Cyprus has agreed that in view of the prevailing conditions in the island it is necessary to keep the United Nations Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) beyond 31 December 1996,
"Reaffirming its earlier relevant resolutions on Cyprus, and in particular resolutions 186 (1964) of 4 March 1964, 939 (1994) of 29 July 1994 and 1062 (1996) of 28 June 1996,
"Gravely concerned by the deteriorating situation in Cyprus and by the fact that intercommunal tensions on the island have escalated and, over the last six-month period, violence along the cease-fire lines has reached a level not seen since 1974 as stated in the report of the Secretary-General of 10 December 1996,
"Concerned also at the increased use of and threat to use violence against the personnel of UNFICYP,
"Noting the beginning of indirect discussions through the UNFICYP Force Commander between the military authorities of both sides on measures aimed at reduction of military tensions,
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"Reiterating its concern that negotiations on a final political solution have been at an impasse for too long,
"1. Decides to extend the mandate of UNFICYP for a further period ending on 30 June 1997;
"2. Deplores the violent incidents of 11 and 14 August, 8 September and 15 October 1996, which resulted in the tragic deaths of three Greek Cypriot civilians and one member of the Turkish Cypriot Security Forces, as well as injuries to civilians and UNFICYP personnel, in particular the unnecessary and disproportionate use of force by the Turkish/Turkish Cypriot side, as well as the largely passive role played by the Cypriot police in response to civilian demonstrations;
"3. Reminds both sides of their obligation to prevent violence directed against UNFICYP personnel, particularly those involving firearms, which inhibit UNFICYP from carrying out its mandated responsibilities, and demands that they ensure UNFICYP complete freedom of movement and extend their full cooperation to UNFICYP;
"4. Emphasizes the need to maintain law and order and, in this context, demands that both parties prevent unauthorized incursions into the buffer zone, and respond immediately and responsibly to any demonstrations which violate the buffer zone and any demonstrations near the buffer zone that might lead to an increase in tensions;
"5. Calls upon the parties to accept as a package, without delay or preconditions, the reciprocal measures proposed by UNFICYP, namely: (a) to extend the 1989 unmanning agreement to other areas where the two sides remain in close proximity to each other; (b) to prohibit loaded weapons along the cease-fire lines; and (c) to adopt a code of conduct, based on the concept of minimal force and proportional response, to be followed by troops on both sides along the cease-fire lines, and expresses its disappointment that no progress has been made towards implementing these measures thus far;
"6. Further calls upon the military authorities on both sides:
(a) To clear all minefields and booby-trapped areas inside the buffer zone without further delay, as requested by UNFICYP;
(b) To cease military construction in the immediate vicinity of the buffer zone;
(c) To refrain from any military exercises along the buffer zone;
"7. Reiterates grave concern about the excessive levels of military forces and armaments in the Republic of Cyprus and the rate at which they are
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being expanded, upgraded and modernized, including by the introduction of sophisticated weaponry, as well as the lack of progress towards a significant reduction in the number of foreign troops in the Republic of Cyprus, which threaten to raise tensions both on the island and in the region and complicate efforts to negotiate an overall political settlement;
"8. Calls again upon all concerned to commit themselves to a reduction in defence spending and a reduction in the number of foreign troops in the Republic of Cyprus to help restore confidence between the parties and as a first step towards the withdrawal of non-Cypriot forces as described in the set of ideas (S/24472, annex), stresses the importance of eventual demilitarization of the Republic of Cyprus as an objective in the context of an overall comprehensive settlement, and calls upon the Secretary-General to continue to promote efforts in this direction;
"9. Expresses continuing concern about military exercises in the region, including overflights in the airspace of Cyprus by military fixed-wing aircraft, which have markedly increased political tension on the island and undermined efforts towards achieving a settlement;
"10. Reiterates that the status quo is unacceptable and stresses its support for the Secretary-General's mission of good offices and the importance of the concerted efforts to work with the Secretary-General towards an overall comprehensive settlement;
"11. Welcomes the efforts of the Secretary-General's Special Representative, and of those working in support, to prepare the ground for open-ended direct negotiations in the first half of 1997 between the leaders of the two Cypriot communities in order to secure an overall settlement;
"12. Calls upon the parties to cooperate with the Special Representative to that end, as well as with his intensified preparatory work in the first months of 1997 with the objective of clarifying the main elements of an overall settlement;
"13. Underlines that the success of this process will require the creation of genuine mutual confidence on both sides and the avoidance of actions which increase tension and calls upon the leaders of both communities to create a climate of reconciliation and confidence;
"14. Reaffirms its position that a Cyprus settlement must be based on a State of Cyprus with a single sovereignty and international personality and a single citizenship, with its independence and territorial integrity safeguarded, and comprising two politically equal communities as described in the relevant Security Council resolutions, in a bi-communal and bi-zonal federation, and that such a settlement must exclude union in whole or in part with any other country or any form of partition or secession;
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"15. Welcomes the continuous efforts by UNFICYP to implement its humanitarian mandate in respect of Greek Cypriots and Maronites living in the northern part of the island, and Turkish Cypriots living in the southern part, and regrets that there has been no further progress on the implementation of recommendations arising out of the humanitarian review undertaken by UNFICYP in 1995;
"16. Welcomes the continuing efforts of the United Nations and others in the international community to promote bi-communal events, regrets the obstacles which have been placed in the way of such contacts, and strongly urges all concerned, and especially the Turkish Cypriot community leadership, to lift all obstacles to such contacts;
"17. Reaffirms that the decision of the European Union concerning the opening of accession negotiations with Cyprus is an important new development that should facilitate an overall settlement;
"18. Requests the Secretary-General to keep under review the structure and strength of UNFICYP with a view to its possible restructuring, and to present any new considerations he may have in this regard;
"19. Requests the Secretary-General to submit a report by 10 June 1997 on the implementation of this resolution;
"20. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter."
Reports of Secretary-General
Stating that the presence of UNFICYP on the island remains indispensable for achieving the objectives set out by the Security Council, the Secretary- General recommends in his report (document S/1996/1016) the extension of the Force's mandate for a further period of six months until 30 June 1997.
According to the report, the situation in Cyprus has deteriorated in the last six months. There was violence along the cease-fire lines, including the "unnecessary and disproportionate use of lethal force" by the Turkish/Turkish Cypriot side to an extent not seen since 1974. The atmosphere between the two communities was marked by increasing distrust and hostility.
The Secretary-General expresses serious concern at the excessive levels of military force and armaments in Cyprus and the rate at which they are being expanded, upgraded and modernized. During demonstrations on 11 and 14 August, UNFICYP did its best to prevent the demonstrators from entering the United Nations buffer zone. "An international peace-keeping force is placed in an invidious position, however, when faced with a volatile crowd of civilians", he adds. Controlling the civilian population must remain the exclusive responsibility of the local authorities.
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The violent incidents of August and September set the opposing forces on edge, the report continues. On a number of occasions, both forces moved forward of their lines into the United Nations buffer zone, and in some cases, attempted to restrict UNFICYP operations. That was an almost daily occurrence in areas where the delineation of the cease-fire line is disputed by the Turkish forces.
Along the whole buffer zone but particularly in those areas where the opposing forces are in close proximity to each other, there has been a rise in instances of weapons being pointed or cocked, stone throwing and verbal abuse, the report states. In all cases, UNFICYP intervened with the military authorities on both sides to correct violations and to prevent any escalation. There was also an increase in the number of incidents in which the UNFICYP soldiers were threatened at gunpoint by soldiers of either side, and on four occasions, UNFICYP personnel came under fire. On 13 September, a Turkish soldier fired several rounds at a United Nations helicopter flying inside the buffer zone.
There is an urgent need for leaders on both sides to make a serious effort to lead their communities in a more positive direction and to build trust and goodwill between the two sides, the Secretary-General says. The UNFICYP proposals to achieve that aim include early agreement on the package of measures to reduce tension along the cease-fire lines; implementation of the measures to improve the living conditions of the Greek Cypriots and Maronites living in the northern part of the island; and the removal of all impediments to the movement of people and increased contacts and communication between the two sides.
The UNFICYP continued to implement its humanitarian mandate in respect of Greek Cypriots and Maronites living in the northern part of the island and Turkish Cypriots living in the southern part, the report states. The living conditions of the Greek Cypriots and the Maronites in the northern part of Cyprus have not changed in the period under review and there had been no further progress on the implementation of the recommendations arising out of the humanitarian review undertaken by UNFICYP in 1995.
The Force continues to act as intermediary between the two communities and to facilitate cooperation in such areas as the repair and equitable distribution of electricity and water resources, says the Secretary-General.
Should the Security Council decide to extend the mandate of UNFICYP for a further period of six months, the costs of maintaining the Force would be approximately $22.5 million. Of that amount, approximately $12.1 million would be assessed on Member States.
In a report to the Council on his mission of good offices in Cyprus (document S/1996/1055), the Secretary-General says an urgent effort is
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required in 1997 to bring about early direct talks between the two leaders to negotiate an overall agreement. The leaders of both communities should clearly and publicly commit themselves to such a process. Preparations for direct negotiations are being intensified by the Secretariat and more intensive contacts with the leaders of the two communities and with Greece and Turkey are planned for the new year, including longer visits to Cyprus and to the area by his Special Representative. The Secretary-General calls on the Governments of Greece and Turkey to become more active in support of his mission of good offices.
The leaders of both communities must give tangible indication that they are seeking an overall settlement on the basis of one country and to ensure that their words and deeds are in harmony with that objective, the report continues. Such a change in attitude cannot wait for a settlement; it must precede it and should be adopted without delay. The emphasis in their public statements and in their communications with each other must shift away from polemics and mutual accusations and towards their future relationship in a federal Cyprus.
The Secretary-General states that both sides should implement goodwill measures that indicate their good intentions and help create an atmosphere of confidence. He calls on both leaders to undertake the following measures: crossing with minimal formality by members of both communities at the Ledra Palace checkpoint (for example, by only presenting identity cards); facilitating bicommunal contacts; cooperation and joint projects in areas of inter-communal concern such as the environment, water, health, education (including the elimination of biased and negative representations of each other) and the restoration of historic sites; youth and student exchanges; bicommunal sports events; elimination of provocative emblems and slogans; island-wide telephone communications; and bicommunal commercial activities and trade.
Furthermore, the Secretary-General says, it is important that the UNFICYP proposals for further unmanning, the prohibition of loaded weapons and a military code of conduct along the cease-fire lines be agreed to and implemented without delay.
"The current situation offers the two communities, and the region, both a warning signal and an opportunity", the Secretary-General says. The two leaders must recognize the seriousness of the moment and agree to negotiate a comprehensive settlement on the basis of mutual concessions and to facilitate that process by conveying to each other in both words and deeds a message of reconciliation. He calls upon both leaders to cooperate with his Special Representative and his Deputy Special Representative and with the governments that support his mission of good offices.
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According to the report, international interest in the Cyprus problem, in particular among the permanent members of the Security Council and the members of the European Union has continued to intensify. During the period under review, senior officials from France, the European Union Presidency (Ireland), the United Kingdom and the United States visited Cyprus, Greece and Turkey, to explore possible ways of bringing the positions of the two sides closer together and to seek greater support from Greece and Turkey.
The missions of the European Union Presidency focused on a possible Union contribution to an overall settlement in the context of its decision to initiate accession negotiations with Cyprus, the report continues. Such a contribution would include explanation of the benefits which Union membership would bring to all Cypriots and would also address Turkish Cypriot concerns about its implications for an overall settlement of the Cyprus problem, particularly as regards bi-zonality, the Turkish guarantee and the relationship of Greece and Turkey with Cyprus. Regular consultations have taken place between the United Nations and representatives of interested Governments in Cyprus, at Headquarters and elsewhere.
The report stresses that beneath the surface, the situation in Cyprus is changing, in terms both of the demographic composition of the island and of the relationship of the two communities with each other and to the outside world. Either the two communities will take control of their destiny by reaching an overall settlement on the basis that has already been agreed, or forces beyond their control will fundamentally change the situation on the island.
The decision of the European Union to open accession negotiations with Cyprus and the timetable that flows from it provide an important reason for both sides to redouble their efforts, says the Secretary-General. It is in the vital interests of both communities to reach a solution before accession negotiations begin. It is widely believed that the accession by Cyprus to Union membership in a manner consistent with the agreed basis for an overall settlement would offer both communities the opportunity for enhanced prosperity and security.
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