The Security Council this morning decided to extend the mandate of the United Nations Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for a further six months until 31 December and called upon the military authorities on both sides to refrain from any action, particularly in the vicinity of the buffer zone, which would exacerbate tensions.
By unanimously adopting resolution 1117 (1997), the Council stressed its support for the Secretary-General's mission of good offices and the importance of working with him towards an overall comprehensive settlement. It welcomed the decision of the Secretary-General to launch a sustained process of direct negotiations between the leaders of the two Cypriot communities with the aim of securing such a settlement. Furthermore, the Council called on those leaders to commit themselves to the process of negotiations, including participation in the first session to be held 9 to 13 July, at the Troutbeck conference centre in Duchess County, New York. Stressing that full support of all concerned was necessary for the negotiating process to produce results, the Council urged the leaders to cooperate actively and constructively with the Secretary-General and his Special Adviser on Cyprus, Diego Cordovez.
The Council urged the continuation of the efforts of the United Nations and others concerned to promote the holding of bicommunal events to build trust and mutual respect between the two communities. It acknowledged the recent cooperation from both sides to that end, and strongly encouraged them to take further steps to facilitate such bicommunal events and to ensure that they take place in conditions of safety and security.
Also by the resolution, the Council reiterated its grave concern about the excessive levels, expansion, upgrading and modernization of the military forces and armaments in Cyprus, and the lack of significant reduction in the number of foreign troops in the country, which threatened to raise tensions, both on the island and in the region, and complicate efforts to negotiate an overall political settlement.
The Council reaffirmed its position that a settlement must be based on a State of Cyprus with a single sovereignty and international personality and a
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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 bicommunal and bizonal 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 the opening of accession negotiations with Cyprus was an important development that should facilitate an overall settlement.
The meeting, which was called to order at 10:22 a.m., was adjourned at 10:24 a.m.
The text of resolution 1117 (1997) reads as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Welcoming the report of the Secretary-General on the United nations operation in Cyprus of 5 June 1997 (S/1997/437 and Corr.1),
"Welcoming also the letter of 20 June 1997 to the President of the Security Council from the Secretary-General on his mission of good offices in Cyprus (S/1997/480),
"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 30 June 1997,
"Reaffirming its earlier relevant resolutions on Cyprus, and in particular resolutions 186 (1964) of 4 March 1964, 939 (1994) of 29 July 1994 and 1092 (1996) of 23 December 1996,
"Noting with concern that tensions along the cease-fire lines remain high despite the decrease in the number of serious incidents over the last six months,
"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 31 December 1997;
"2. Reminds both sides of their obligation to prevent any violence directed against UNFICYP personnel, to cooperate fully with UNFICYP and to ensure its complete freedom of movement;
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"3. Underlines the importance of agreement by both sides to the reciprocal measures for the reduction of tensions along the cease-fire lines proposed by UNFICYP as set forth in its resolution 1092 (1996), deeply regrets the fact that, in spite of the efforts of UNFICYP, neither side has so far accepted such measures as a package, and reiterates its call on both sides to do so without further delay or preconditions;
"4. Calls upon the military authorities on both sides to refrain from any action, particularly in the vicinity of the buffer zone, which would exacerbate tensions;
"5. Reiterates grave concern at the continuing excessive levels of military forces and armaments in the Republic of Cyprus and the rate at which they are being expanded, upgraded and modernized, including by the introduction of sophisticated weaponry, and the lack of progress towards and 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;
"6. 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 promote efforts in this direction;
"7. 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;
"8. Welcomes the decision of the Secretary-General to launch a sustained process of direct negotiations between the leaders of the two Cypriot communities with the aim of securing such a settlement;
"9. Calls upon those leaders to commit themselves to this process of negotiations, including participation in the first session of such negotiations to be held 9-13 July 1997, urges them to cooperate actively and constructively with the Secretary-General and his Special Adviser on Cyprus, Mr. Diego Cordovez, to that end, and stresses that full support of all concerned is necessary for this process to produce results;
"10. Further calls upon the parties to create a climate for reconciliation and genuine mutual confidence on both sides, and to avoid any actions which might increase tension;
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"11. 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;
"12. 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;
"13. Welcomes the efforts of the United Nations and others concerned to promote the holding of bi-communal events so as to build trust and mutual respect between the two communities, urges that these efforts be continued, acknowledges the recent cooperation from all concerned on both sides to that end, and strongly encourages them to take further steps to facilitate such bi- communal events and to ensure that they take place in conditions of safety and security;
"14. Reaffirms that the decision of the European Union concerning the opening of accession negotiations with Cyprus is an important development that should facilitate an overall settlement;
"15. 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;
"16. Requests the Secretary-General to submit a report by 10 December 1997 on the implementation of this resolution;
"17. Decides to remain seized of the matter."
Documents before Council
Stating that the presence on the island of UNFICYP remains indispensable in maintaining the cease-fire between the two sides, the Secretary-General, in a report to the Council (documents S/1997/437 and Corr.1 and Add.1), recommends the extension of the Force's mandate for a further period of six months until 31 December.
According to the report, the situation in Cyprus has been much calmer than in the preceding period, but there were numerous indications of continuing tension between the two sides. While the number of serious
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incidents decreased compared to the previous six months, the tension along the cease-fire lines remained higher than in the past.
Both sides generally respected the cease-fire and the status quo, the report says. On a number of occasions, both sides moved forward into the United Nations buffer zone, most frequently at locations where they dispute the delineation of the cease-fire line. There were numerous discharges of weapons, but only rarely was UNFICYP able to determine the target or the source of the firing. Stone-throwing, pointing of weapons and shouting of abuse occurred between the opposing forces, and in some instances at UNFICYP, in those areas of Nicosia where the two sides are in close proximity to each other.
There has been no change in the excessive levels of military forces and armaments in Cyprus and the rate at which they are being expanded, upgraded and modernized, according to the report. Military construction by both sides also continued. The National Guard continued to strengthen its positions in Nicosia near the International Airport, in the area of the Central Prison and along the cease-fire lines east of the city. The Turkish forces continued construction and improvement of positions along the length of the buffer zone. These activities were protested by UNFICYP, but with little effect. In two areas west of Nicosia, the Turkish forces disputed the delineation of the cease-fire line and interfered from time to time with United Nations patrols in the buffer zone.
The military authorities had yet to accept the package of reciprocal measures proposed by UNFICYP to reduce tension along the cease-fire lines, the report states. These are simple practical measures that would not affect the status or delineation of the cease-fire lines, nor would they impair the security of either side. Agreement on the proposals would significantly improve the atmosphere and reduce the potential for violations of the cease- fire and the heightening of tension. The Secretary-General strongly urges both sides to reconsider their positions and cooperate with UNFICYP to reach an agreement on this package without further delay.
According to the report, in the period under review, the UNFICYP intensified its efforts to promote and facilitate bicommunal activities to increase communication and cooperation between the two communities and build trust and mutual respect. Noting that for direct contacts between members of the two communities to take place, the support of UNFICYP or diplomatic missions is still essential, the Secretary-General urges the two leaders to send clear messages of tolerance and reconciliation to their publics and to facilitate and encourage direct contacts between the two communities.
The report also states that UNFICYP continued to carry out humanitarian tasks in respect of Greek Cypriots and Maronites in the northern part of the island and Turkish Cypriots in the southern part. The living conditions of
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the Greek Cypriots and Maronites residing in the northern part of the island have changed little in the period under review. Of the recommendations arising from UNFICYP's humanitarian review in 1995, the Turkish Cypriot authorities have maintained improvements in terms of relaxation of restrictions on the freedom of movement of the Greek Cypriots and Maronites introduced in early 1996. But the other recommendations have not been implemented.
It should be added that should the Security Council decide to extend the mandate of the Force for a further 12-month period, the General Assembly has already appropriate $48 million gross for the mission. That amount includes voluntary contributions of one third of the costs of the Force by the Government of Cyprus, and a further contribution by the Government of Greece.
In the addendum to the report, the Secretary-General informs the Council that the Government of Cyprus, as well as the Governments of Greece and the United Kingdom, have indicated their concurrence with the proposed extension. The Government of Turkey has indicated that it concurs with and supports the position of the Turkish Cypriot side, as expressed in previous meetings of the Council on the extension of the mandate of UNFICYP.
In a letter to the President of the Security Council, the Secretary- General reports on his mission of good offices in Cyprus (document S/1997/480). On 9 June, the Secretary-General invited the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities to a first session of face-to- face negotiations to take place in the New York area from 9 to 13 July. Those face-to-face talks will constitute the beginning of a process which should continue as long as may be needed to achieve agreement on a comprehensive solution. The Secretary-General says that it was envisaged that the first session will be followed by another one in August and a third session, if necessary. He expresses his firm belief that there is a need for new approaches and procedures in order to avoid a prolongation and even a perpetuation of preceding inconclusive dialogues. Inasmuch as the elements needed to work out a settlement are at hand, he says it would be most appropriate to embark upon a sustained process of direct negotiations leading to the conclusion of instruments that will constitute a comprehensive settlement.
A number of governments, as well as the presidency of the European Union, have appointed special envoys and representatives in support of the efforts carried out within the framework of the good offices mission of the Secretary-General, the letter states. The active, firm and full support of all concerned, and particularly of the Security Council, is indispensable if the current efforts are to bring results. The Secretary-General asks the President and the members of the Council, and all concerned, to urge the parties to embark upon a sustained process of negotiations that will lead to the conclusion of the instruments that will constitute a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue.
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