14/12/2001
Press Release
SC/7240



Security Council

4436th Meeting* (AM)


SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS CYPRUS MISSION UNTIL 15 JUNE 2002,

UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1384 (2001)


The Security Council this morning extended the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) until 15 June 2002.


It took that action by unanimously adopting resolution 1384 (2001).  It also urged the Turkish Cypriot side and the Turkish forces to rescind the restrictions imposed on 30 June 2000 on the operations of UNFICYP and to restore the military status quo ante at Strovilia.


By other terms, the Secretary-General was also asked to submit a report by  1 June 2002 on the implementation of the text adopted today.  By further terms, today’s resolution reaffirmed all the Council’s other relevant resolutions on Cyprus.


The meeting began at 10:23 a.m. and was adjourned at 10:25 a.m.


Resolution


The full text of resolution 1384 (2001) reads, as follows:


The Security Council,


Welcoming the report of the Secretary-General of 30 November 2001 (S/2001/1122*) on the United Nations operation in Cyprus, and in particular the call to the parties to assess and address the humanitarian issue of missing persons with due urgency and seriousness,


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 Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) beyond 15 December 2001,


Welcoming and encouraging efforts by the United Nations to sensitize peacekeeping personnel in the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases in all its peacekeeping operations,


“1.   Reaffirms all its relevant resolutions on Cyprus, and in particular resolution 1251 (1999) of 29 June 1999 and subsequent resolutions;


__________


*     The 4435th meeting was closed.

“2.   Decides to extend the mandate of UNFICYP for a further period ending on 15 June 2002;


“3.   Requests the Secretary-General to submit a report by 1 June 2002 on the implementation of this resolution;


“4.   Urges the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkish forces to rescind the restrictions imposed on 30 June 2000 on the operations of UNFICYP and to restore the military status quo ante at Strovilia;


“5.   Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”


Background


When the Security Council met this morning to consider the situation in Cyprus, it had before it the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations operation in that country (document S/2001/1122).  Also before the Council was a letter dated 10 December (document S/2001/1162) from the Secretary-General to the President of the Council.


Cyprus became independent on 16 August 1960, and a Member of the United Nations one month later.  The new country's new Constitution was intended to balance the interests of both the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities.  The application of the provisions of that Constitution, however, encountered difficulties from the beginning and led to a succession of constitutional crises.  The accumulated tension between the two communities resulted in the outbreak of violence on the island on 21 December 1963.  On

27 December, the Council met to consider a complaint by Cyprus charging intervention in its internal affairs and aggression by Turkey.  Turkey maintained that Greek Cypriot leaders had tried for more than two years to nullify the rights of the Turkish Cypriot community and denied all charges of aggression.


On 4 March 1964, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 186 (1964), by which it recommended the establishment of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).  The Force became operational on 27 March 1964.  Its mandate originally called on it to use its “best efforts to prevent a recurrence of fighting and, as necessary, to contribute to the maintenance and restoration of law and order and a return to normal conditions”.  The Council has periodically extended that mandate.


A coup d’état in Cyprus on 15 July 1974 by Greek Cypriot and Greek elements favouring union with Greece was followed by military intervention by Turkey, whose troops established Turkish Cypriot control over the northern part of the island. The Council called for a ceasefire and laid the basis for negotiations between Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom.  A de facto ceasefire came into effect on 16 August 1974.


Following the hostilities of July and August 1974, the Council adopted a number of resolutions which have affected the functioning of UNFICYP and have required the Force to perform certain additional functions relating, in particular, to the maintenance of the ceasefire.  Following the de facto ceasefire, ceasefire lines and a buffer zone were established between the areas controlled by the opposing forces.  Strict adherence to the military status quo in the buffer zone, as recorded by UNFICYP at the time, has become a vital element in preventing a recurrence of fighting.  The UNFICYP maintains surveillance through a system of observation posts, and through air, vehicle and foot patrols.


In the absence of a political settlement to the Cyprus problem, the mandate of the Force has been periodically extended for six-month periods.  Most recently, the mandate of UNFICYP was extended until 15 December 2001 by Council resolution 1354 (2001), adopted on 15 June 2001.  By that resolution, the Council urged the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkish forces to lift restrictions on the mission’s operations; and to restore the military status quo ante at Strovilia, a small hamlet inhabited by Greek Cypriots.


Since the events of 1974, the situation in Cyprus has remained calm, although tension has arisen periodically.  Both sides have generally respected  the ceasefire and the military status quo.  But, as the Secretary-General has repeatedly stated, the continuing quiet should not obscure the fact that there is only a ceasefire in Cyprus, not peace.  The Council has declared on numerous occasions that the status quo is not an acceptable option.


The Secretary-General's letter informs the Council President that on

4 December, Rauf Denktash and Glafcos Clerides had met in the presence of Alvaro de Soto, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Cyprus, in the United Nations Protected Area as scheduled.  At that meeting, both Mr. Denktash and Mr. Clerides agreed to begin direct talks on 16 January, at the invitation of the Secretary-General.  These talks will start on 16 January 2002.  The Secretary-General notes that the agreement is a positive development and he hopes, as agreed by both men, that they will negotiate in good faith until they achieve a comprehensive settlement.  (Appended to the letter is the text of the agreement of 4 December.)    

The present report of the Secretary-General covers developments from 30 May to 27 November 2001 and brings up to date the record of activities of UNFICYP.


Addressing the maintenance of the ceasefire and the military status quo, the report states that the situation along the ceasefire lines remained calm.  There were fewer incidents, particularly in the area of Nicosia, where the opposing forces are in close proximity.  These incidents included cocking and pointing of weapons at UNFICYP soldiers, temporary moves forward into the unmanned positions, and stone-throwing, as well as verbal abuse.  Restrictions imposed on UNFICYP in July and November 2000 by the Turkish Forces/Turkish Cypriot security forces continued, including the violation of the military status quo in the village of Strovilia.


The Secretary-General states that there were 34 air violations -- 11 by National Guard aircraft; 12 by Turkish military aircraft; four by Greek Cypriot civilian aircraft; two by civilian aircraft from the north, one by a Cyprus police helicopter and four of unknown origin.  Crossings of the maritime security lines also continued despite vessels of either side being advised, for their own safety, not to cross.  Incursions in the buffer zone, mainly by Greek Cypriot hunters, increased significantly in November at the beginning of the winter hunting season. This led to a number of incidents, with some hunters discharging their weapons in the proximity of UNFICYP personnel.

Addressing restrictions on UNFICYP by the Turkish Forces/Turkish Cypriot security forces, the report underscores that patrols by UNFICYP to the fenced-off areas of Varosha were prohibited.  The patrols were resumed in September 2001, but are now escorted by the Turkish Cypriot security forces.  The Turkish Forces persisted in hoisting flags on one of the buildings, in violation of the military status quo.  The United Nations holds the Government of Turkey responsible for the maintenance of the status quo in Varosha.


Addressing the issue of the restoration of normal conditions and humanitarian functions, the Secretary-General says that the number of meetings between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots decreased during the reporting period. Numerous planned events could not go ahead because the Turkish Cypriot authorities did not allow Turkish Cypriots to participate.  The UNFICYP also assisted in facilitating monthly meetings of political party representatives from both sides, media gatherings, music rehearsals and a business dialogue forum at Ledra Palace. The largest bicommunal gathering was the commemoration of United Nations Day on  21 October, at Ledra Palace in the buffer zone, which was attended by around  7,300 Greek and Turkish Cypriots.


According to the report, UNFICYP continued to carry out its mandated humanitarian tasks in support of the 427 Greek Cypriots and 165 Maronites living in the northern part of the island, and those Turkish Cypriots in the southern part who have made themselves known to the Force.  The Force also visited Omer Gazi Tekogul, a Turkish Cypriot sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment for heroin possession, and facilitated visits by his family, friends and doctors. Mr. Tekogul was pardoned and released on 28 September.


The Secretary-General says that UNFICYP continued to support civilian activities in the buffer zone.  The Force also designated a piece of land in the buffer zone west of Nicosia for civilian use, mainly for housing.  In Pyla, UNFICYP brokered an agreement between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot village leaders on road safety measures.


According to the report as at November 2001, UNFICYP comprised 1,227 troops, 35 civilian police and 139 civilian personnel.  Zbigniew Wlosowicz continues as Acting Special Representative and Chief of Mission, and Major General Victory Rana as Force Commander.


The Secretary-General considers the peacekeeping operation in Cyprus still essential and he, therefore, recommends that the Council extend the mandate of UNFICYP for a further period of six months, until 15 June 2002.


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